On the Rape and Murder of a 6-Year-Old Afghan Girl in Iran

The rape and murder last month of 6-year-old Afghan refugee girl Setayesh Qoreishi is endemic to the long history of neglect, abuse, discrimination and human rights violations that Afghans have suffered in Iran for decades. Setayesh was born to an Afghan refugee family living in the Varamin suburb of Tehran. On April 9, she disappeared […]

6 Places to Celebrate International Anti-Street Harassment Week

From the age of five, gender-based street harassment has been an undercurrent in my life—even on my wedding day last year. I was in a grocery store parking lot when two men told me I looked beautiful, then immediately escalated into sexually explicit comments about my body, making me feel dirty and humiliated. I am […]

Tackling Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights at the U.N.

Negotiations for a sustainable global development agenda came to a close in 2015 at the United Nations. Despite political and economic differences, countries rallied to support the resulting Sustainable Development Goals of 2030 (SDGs). On paper, Agenda 2030 offers significant gains for women and girls—provided the 17 goals and 169 targets are fully implemented. During […]

Sister to Sister: Why a Group of Nuns are Going Undercover as Sex Workers

For the last five years, more 1,000 nuns have been going undercover as sex workers to help women trafficked into prostitution and sex slavery. And while you’ve probably never heard of them, the sisters of Talitha Kum—a reference to the Gospel of Mark meaning, “Maiden, I say to you, arise” in Aramaic—are worthy of your attention. The sisters run prevention […]

Why the Next U.N. Secretary-General Must Be a Woman and a Feminist

The United Nations—an institution dedicated to global peace, security and justice—has often felt like an all-boys club. Since 1946, eight men have occupied the hallowed position of secretary-general of the U.N. From Norway’s Trygve Lie to Korea’s Ban Ki-moon—the current secretary-general who will step down at the end of 2016—these men have played a central […]

Want World Peace? Bring Women to the Table

Today marks the end of the 16 Days of Activism to End Gender-Based Violence, a global campaign by feminist activists to not only raise awareness and action to end gender violence, but also, importantly, to create an understanding that gender-based violence is a human rights abuse. This is an important rhetorical strategy, given historical reluctance […]

16 Global Heroes Battling Violence Against Women and Girls

Reprinted with permission from Safe magazine. To read the full stories of each hero, click here. What makes a hero? Someone who walks toward a problem, not away from it. Someone who puts others before themselves even if doing so puts themselves at risk. Someone who translates their own pain or hardship into solutions and salve for others. […]

The Global Trade in Child Rape is Happening at Workplaces Everywhere

Last Thursday The Guardian reported on a United Nations publication, released in September, that described four U.N. staff fired for trading in images and/or videos of child sex abuse on their work computers. Journalists from Agence France-Presse to Al Arabiya followed this story and referenced that U.N. work computers were involved. The trade in child rape, aka child pornography, in the workplace is an […]

The Syrian Refugee Struggle No One’s Talking About

Yesterday’s New York Times ran a story about how migrants rushing to cross Europe, though resourceful and adaptable, are facing a new threat they can’t evade: winter. But there is another thing that the girls and women among the migrants cannot avoid, and that is their monthly menstruation. Few among us would grab extra underwear and sanitary pads […]

Half-Full/Half-Empty: What the U.N. Has Done for Women and Girls

Ellen Chesler and Terry McGovern have co-edited a timely and important collection of analytical essays and personal reflections in their new volume, Women and Girls Rising. The volume tries—and largely succeeds—to offer a thoughtful reckoning of the influence of the U.N. Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. It is part of a series […]