Introducing Your New #WCE: Ishita Malaviya, India’s First Woman Surfer

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Ishita Malaviya always dreamt of becoming a surfer, but didn’t think there were any waves in India, her home country. But about eight years ago, she and her boyfriend, fellow surfer Tushar Pathiyan, stumbled upon an ashram in the small university town of Manipal that was packed full of surfers from California. “We were super excited to […]

10 Badass Sikh Women in History

Sophia Duleep Kaur Singh, right, seen with her daughters Bamba and Catherine

Oftentimes, women’s contributions are overlooked because, for the most part, it is men who write history. In India, women of the Sikh faith have fought, ruled, taught and served for centuries. They have managed organizations, guided communities and led revolts. These accomplishments are admirable in their own right, and they are even more impressive when […]

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


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 […]

Indian Women Reclaim Buses for International Women’s Day

Bus Crop

When I spent a week in Delhi, India, to attend an international conference on women’s safety, I saw many public buses around the city as I walked or rode in auto-rickshaws. Each of the crowded buses was almost entirely full of men. It was so rare to see women on a bus that if I […]

Why the U.S. Is Investing in Afghan Girls’ Education

Afghan Girl

At Georgetown University today, Secretary of State John Kerry, former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and former First Lady Laura Bush all gave support to “Advancing Afghan Women.” Here are some of Kerry’s remarks: … We all know that creating opportunities for women is not just the right thing to do. It’s also a strategic […]

Six Reasons To Be Wary of Death Sentence for Delhi Rapists


In New Delhi last December, Jyoti Singh Pandey, a physiotherapy student out to a late movie with a friend, boarded a bus in which she and her friend were attacked by a group of men. Brutally gang-raped, Pandey succumbed to her injuries a few days later. The case evoked unprecedented resonance among many groups, especially […]

Indian Politicians Set Bait for Women’s Vote


“Why don’t they have general elections every year, even every six months ?” That’s Mohana being cheeky as she listens to the day’s news items being read out to her by a member of a nongovernmental organization in Bangalore, in south India. The women sitting with her, all slum dwellers and mostly illiterate—whose surnames represent […]

In India or U.S., No Safe Haven from Gender Violence


When you cry “rape,” who can hear you? Should it matter how you are heard? On reading American student RoseChasm’s terrified litanies of sexual harassment, rape and stalking during her experiences in a study abroad program in India, I was angry and outraged on her behalf, and empathetic based on my own experiences in India. […]

U.S. Retailers Promise Action on Bangladesh Factories – Will It Help?


Nearly four months after the Rana Plaza factory collapse, one of the deadliest industrial accidents in history, American retailers (whose clothing is produced in Bangladesh factories) are finally announcing that they will take steps to prevent such accidents from happening again. United under the umbrella of Alliance for Bangladesh Workers’ Safety, the retailers said they […]

Will Women’s Rights in Afghanistan Disappear?

Afghan lawmakers on Saturday rejected the Law on Elimination of Violence Against Women, which would criminalize child marriage, forced marriage, domestic violence and the exchange of girls and women to settle arguments, among other things. The law would also make it illegal for women to face criminal charges for adultery for being raped. (You heard that right.) […]