Changing the World, One Girl at a Time

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As a former child athlete and now dedicated fan of women’s sports, I was riveted last month when Mo’Ne Davis pitched the Taney Dragons into Little League World Championship history  (I was clearly not the only one; she now has more than 32,000 Twitter followers). Watching this 13-year-old girl demonstrate the confidence, poise and power […]

Feminism in China: Risky, But Rising

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This summer I taught a course on American education policy at Shaanxi Normal University in Xi’an, China, with 55 undergraduates, mostly women, who were smart, inquisitive and surprisingly bold.  Despite the lack of support for women’s rights in the country, several of them identified as feminists, and many chanced government backlash by writing about wanting […]

Where Women Fill More Than 50 Percent of Government Seats

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We always talk about the fact that in order to really change attitudes and behavior towards women and to correct gender inequity in Congo, there need to be women leaders. It seems like a pretty obvious statement, but as we know, this is far from an obvious truth in many countries around the world (including […]

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,” […]