Where Writers Aren’t Free

Five decades of military rule in Myanmar have kept it politically isolated, economically undeveloped and, in terms of freedom of expression, very unfree. That may be about to change. In last November’s election, the National League for Democracy party (NLD), headed by populist leader and writer Aung San Suu Kyi, won nearly 80 percent of seats. […]

Justice: Must Be Made in Bangladesh

Fifteen years ago, Bangladesh was fast becoming a star in the eyes of the United Nations. The poor, hyper-populated Southeast Asian country was poised to meet—even surpass—the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals, serving as a model to the rest of the world that with the right investments, poverty could be eradicated. A booming ready-made export garment […]

For Every Somaly Mam, Countless Others Tell the Truth

Everyone loves to build up a hero, and perhaps dismantling them just as much. By now many have heard of the scandal surrounding Cambodian humanitarian Somaly Mam and her self-named anti-sex-trafficking foundation. The story of degradation and then triumph that catapulted her to public attention has been found to have gaping holes in it after […]

Myanmar Garment Factory Tries to Mend Human Trafficking

Gold-plated pagodas with monks in reddish brown robes glisten under the August sun as hawkers selling foreign investment guides now fill streets once closed by military roadblocks, a metaphor for the end of a dark era in this Southeast Asian country. Yet a closer look at Myanmar, formerly called Burma and ruled for half a […]

Philippine Senator Plagiarizes Pro-Choice Blogger to Make Anti-Choice Arguments

For decades, Filipina women have fought for the right to control their own bodies, from contraception access to abortion rights. And now they are closer than ever to achieving that goal—but it is turning into a raging political battle that leaves countless women’s lives hanging in the balance. I am not Filipina. I am a […]

Just in Time for Her Birthday, Aung San Suu Kyi Finally Gives Nobel Speech

If Aung San Suu Kyi had been able to deliver her acceptance speech when she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, she would have been 46 years old. On June 16, three days before her 67th birthday–which she celebrates today, June 19–she finally gave that talk. Suu Kyi was under house arrest 21 years […]

“The Lady” Takes Office in Burma

Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sworn in as a member of Burma’s Parliament today, along with other elected members of her party, the National League for Democracy. The current issue of Ms. has a cover story on the global feminist and human rights icon, from which this is an excerpt: For two decades, […]

Bend it Like Beckham–in Cambodia

It was Wednesday and the Mighty Girls had practice again. The late afternoon sun beat down on the field in Battambang, a charming river town of 250,000 that is Cambodia’s second-largest city. A group of guys had assembled along the sidelines, menacingly close to the goal. They looked on while the girls ran drills and […]

Filipinas Choose Choice

With approximately 97 million people crammed into a territory slightly bigger than Nevada, where 90,000 women are damaged from roughly 600,000 “back-alley” abortions yearly, a comprehensive reproductive and maternal health care and service law for the Philippines seems no more than common sense. But this is a predominantly Catholic country, the last in the world […]

Filipina Feminists, Firebrands and Freedom Fighters

Type the word “Filipina” into Google and you’ll be inundated by a bounty of sleazy websites hocking mail- order brides, sex tours, and a host of other salacious services allegedly proffered by the “exotic” and “submissive” women of the Philippine Islands. But the country’s unsavory reputation as a one-stop sex shop for lecherous American and […]