Egyptian Women Rally Around “The Girl in the #BlueBra”

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This week, the world saw just how brutal the Egyptian military can be towards women who dissent. A video, which has gone viral, shows military police dragging a hijab-clad woman protester through the street, beating her senseless, then stomping on her exposed stomach as she lies motionless in her blue bra. That image has become […]

Egypt’s “Revolutionary” New Parliament: Less Than 1 Percent Women?

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The results are in, and the news is official: Not a single woman has been directly elected in Egypt’s first round of elections for the lower house of Parliament. And it appears that only three or four women are likely to gain seats when political parties fill their quotas in January. The first of three […]

Honk for Saudi Women on International Human Rights Day!

Saudi Women Drive International Human Rights Day

Today is International Human Rights Day, and this year there is much to celebrate. 2011 has been an extraordinary year for human rights activism worldwide, as the UN points out: This year, millions of people decided the time had come to claim their rights. They took to the streets and demanded change. Many found their […]

Will Saudi Women Lose Their Virginity En Masse If They Start Driving?

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My first thought is “no,” followed by a swift “none of your business.” But that wasn’t the conclusion of a recent report prepared for Saudi Arabia’s legislative assembly by a well-known academic. He predicted that if Saudi women were given the right to drive, those who had never had sex would quickly start losing their […]

Sexual Assault of Mona Eltahawy Marks Uncertain Times for Egyptian Women

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At dawn on Thursday in Cairo, award-winning Egyptian American journalist and feminist Mona Eltahawy tweeted: Beaten arrested in interior ministry And then… silence. After hours of #FreeMona trending on Twitter, Eltahawy emerged from Egyptian state custody with the defiant tweet: “I AM FREE.” Via tweets, Eltahawy began describing in chilling detail her horrific ordeal with the […]

NEWS BRIEF: Despite King’s Edict, Saudi Woman Sentenced to 10 Lashings for Driving

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International outcry arose this September when, just a day after Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced a commitment to women’s rights and granted women voting rights in 2015, a woman named Shaima Jastaina was sentenced to 10 lashings for driving to the hospital. There is no specific law making it illegal for women in Saudi Arabia […]

Police Action Ends Afghan MP’s Hunger Strike

Simin Barakzai

The 12-day hunger strike of Afghan parliament member Simin Barakzai ended yesterday when Afghan police reportedly dismantled her encampment outside the presidential building in Kabul. Barakzai began a fast-to-the-death to protest her unseating from the Afghan parliament. According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Barakzai’s supporters, claimed police, disguised as doctors, dismantled their tents, handcuffed and […]

On Supposed Reforms and Unjust Lashings: A Saudi Woman Speaks Out

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Last Sunday, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia gave a speech to the Shura Council in which he granted Saudi women the right to vote and run in municipal elections starting in 2015 and promised to appoint women to the Shura Council in 2013. Such political rights are welcome because of their social implications. That a […]

For Saudi Women, Voting Win Masks Driving Crackdown

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In a national TV address Sunday, Saudi King Abdullah declared an end to the de facto ban on women’s suffrage. Beginning in 2015, women will be able to vote and run in local elections. This seemingly good news, heralded by the AP as “a major advancement for the rights of women,” overshadowed disturbing developments that […]

Newsflash: King Abdullah Grants Saudi Women the Right to Vote–In 2015

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On Sunday, 87-year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia announced plans to allow women to vote, run for office in local elections and serve on the Shura Council, the 150-member king’s advisory board. However, the changes won’t take place until 2015, and some skeptics think the king will rescind the order by then. Regardless, the move […]