Virginia Woolf in Sangrur: A Stitching Center of One’s Own for Impoverished Farm Women

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Expounding on “women and fiction” (and indeed the several fictions about women), Virginia Woolf’s brilliant long essay, A Room of One’s Own, was first published in 1929. Woolf underscored the dependence of literary genius on freedom of thought; of freedom of thought on the free availability of space; and of space on financial freedom that […]

Fighting Back Against Rape in War

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“Sexual violence.” We hear these two words over and over in Congo. They have become a part of the vernacular—and in many ways are a symptom of a highly traumatized society. In every meeting, sexual violence is mentioned and everywhere we go, we meet girls, women and children who have survived rape and assault. And […]

Women Want the Global Gag Rule Gone for Good

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Thirty years ago this week, the Ronald Reagan Administration announced at an international conference in Mexico City a harsh new policy that set the U.S. on a course of playing partisan politics with the lives and welfare of women around the world. The “Mexico City Policy,” also known as the Global Gag Rule, denied U.S. […]

Rape in Congo is a Men’s Issue, Too

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Here in Congo, so many of our discussions have been about the brutal sexual violence affecting women. We have heard heartbreaking stories of horrific violence and trauma that give you a new appreciation for human cruelty. And we have met so many people who give you hope—who demonstrate unimaginable resilience despite unbelievable trauma. Just today, […]

Canadian Teen Gets Abstinence-Only Education Class Cancelled

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Canadian high school student Emily Dawson has a lot to celebrate this month. She and her mother, Kathy Dawson, filed a human-rights complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission last year after Emily completed a mandatory abstinence-only workshop that slut-shamed students and used scare tactics to enforce abstinence. Two weeks ago, the Edmonton Public School Board announced […]

C’mon, Congress—Isn’t 34 Years Enough Time to Ratify CEDAW?

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Known as the “women’s treaty,” the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women—CEDAW—was signed by the United States 34 years ago today. The United Nations had adopted the treaty, pledging to give women equal rights in all aspects of their lives, on December 18, 1979, and at a special ceremony during […]

Last Abortion Clinic in Canadian Province to Close

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When Kandace Hagen told the nurse at her family doctor’s office she wanted to terminate her pregnancy, the woman abruptly stopped speaking to her. But she scribbled the name of the Morgentaler Clinic in Fredericton, New Brunswick, on a piece of paper before quickly leaving the room. “The entire atmosphere was very cold, very unsupportive,” […]

Happy World Population Day! Sex Ed and Family Planning Means Healthier Women and Children

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In 1989, the United Nations Development Programme named July 11 World Population Day—an annual reminder that issues around population lead to aggravated pollution, the overuse of natural resources, water shortages and poverty, among other things. Improving access to family planning education and services is intimately related to addressing overpopulation, but as we celebrate the 25th World […]

World Population Day: What Hobby Lobby Means Beyond Our Borders

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America’s checkered record on supporting women’s rights to birth control was further stained last week when five Supreme Court justices—none of them women—ruled that a corporation’s “religious beliefs” can override this most basic of human rights. The decision undermines not only women’s rights, but all of our rights to a more sustainable future. Despite decades […]

Senate Hearing Reignites Hope For CEDAW and I-VAWA

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Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), surveying the chamber before her, a room packed with senators, diplomats, feminist leaders, scholars and activists, proudly proclaimed, “I’m looking at an iconic picture here.” At last week’s U.S. Senate Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women’s Issues hearing on Combating Violence and Discrimination Against Women: A […]