The Pakistani Superhero Who’s Battling Polio

In Pakistan, a woman superhero is saving the day on television screens, spreading awareness about women’s issues and fighting for gender equality. Launched last summer, award-winning animation Burka Avenger tracks Jiya and her titular alter ego. An agreeable schoolteacher by day, Jiya transforms into her superhero counterpart at night, donning a burka and kicking butt […]

No Woman, No Drive

It’s not news to most that Saudi Arabia is notorious for taking basic human rights away from its female population. It currently forbids them from traveling abroad, opening a bank account and even from working without permission from a male relative. Another way the Saudi government attempts to keep women locked in the Stone Age […]

On This International Day of the Girl, Remember Afghanistan

As Nicholas Kristof stated, “Talent is universal; opportunity is not.” On every corner of the earth, there are millions of talented children who are denied getting an education due to war, poverty, harmful traditions and lack of resources.  I was one of those children. I could not go to school for five years. I know […]

Policewoman Murdered in Afghanistan; Others Threatened

UPDATE: Five men have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of Lt. Negar. No other details have been made public at this point. Sub-inspector Lt. Negar of the police criminal investigation department in Helmand, a troubled and conservative southern province of Afghanistan, died in the hospital Monday morning after being shot by an […]

First Anti-Domestic Violence Campaigns From Saudi Arabia

“Treat her like a queen, not a punching bag.” “He who hits a woman is a coward.” These are some of the tweets featured in a recent social media campaign from Saudi Arabia. In an effort to call attention to the country’s alarming rates of domestic violence, young people of Saudi Arabia have been asked to […]

The Women of Turkey Won’t Give Up Without A Fight

When tens of thousands in Turkey took to protesting the government, beginning at the end of May, the demographics were astonishing to many global observers: At least half of the protesters are women. What is it about Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government that has so many women fighting back? Sevi, a woman protestor who’s camping […]

Hats Off (But Dresses On) to Our Kurdish Feminist Brothers

A remarkable and unusual sort of civil disobedience has been triggered in Marivan, a city in the Kurdistan Province of Iran. On April 15, an Iranian court in the city forced a male convict to wear traditional Kurdish women’s clothes in public, perceiving it as a humiliating punishment. Kurdish feminists of the Marivan Women’s Community […]

Baby Steps Toward Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

Women are now allowed to ride bikes in Saudi Arabia —with a few tiny restrictions. They’re only allowed to bike if they are:  in a restricted area, with a man, have covered their bodies completely under the rules of Islamic abaya, biking strictly for entertainment (not transportation) and staying away from places where groups of […]

NEWSFLASH: Afghan Women’s Affairs Official Murdered

Najia Sediqi, the acting head of women’s affairs in Laghman Province in eastern Afghanistan, was on her way to work on Monday when she was shot to death by two motorcyclists. This is the second time in six months a woman holding this position has been assassinated. In July, Sediqi’s predecessor, Hanifa Safi, was killed […]

Malala Yousufzai: A Girl and a Country

In 2007 when the Tehrik-e-Taliban forces marched into the town of Swat, the rest of Pakistan watched, aghast and unbelieving. The town was very popular as a tourist destination, its verdant foothills studded with picturesque dwellings: a lush and cool getaway from the sun-baked plains of the rest of the country. Within days signs appeared […]