Zambia: 'Early Marriage' Tradition Violates Girls' Rights
Underage marriage is widespread in northern Zambia’s Luapula Province, where the estimates that 70 percent of teenage girls are forced into marriage. Poverty, particularly in rural areas, and a tradition of marrying daughters off young, account for the high rates of child marriage. The practice of bride price - where the groom pays an amount of money to the bride’s family - also plays a role as some parents seek financial gains from marrying their daughters. Many parents also choose to marry their daughters young to prevent them from getting pregnant outside marriage and besmirching family honor.
Malawi: Witchcraft Legal Aid in Africa
NEW YORK — Accusations of witchcraft in Africa have gained increasing attention because of the severe impact they can have on the lives of those accused, including imprisonment, deprivation of property, banishment from villages and in some cases physical violence.
The human-rights law program I direct recently partnered with an N.G.O. in Malawi to run a mobile legal-aid clinic focusing on witchcraft cases in two rural communities.
VNC: Secure the independence of women's shelters in Afghanistan.
Uphold the rights of Afghan women and girls to be freed from gender-based violence. Secure the independence of women's shelters in Afghanistan.
The Global Campaign to Stop Violence against Women in the Name of ‘Culture’, an international network of women’s human rights defenders and advocates, fully supports our sisters in Afghanistan in resisting their government’s attempt to put the country’s women shelters under State control.
If the Afghan government proceeds with this proposed legislation, it will invite serious risks to the already-fragile security of women and girls who are in desperate need of protection from gender–based violence in their country. This development is alarming and deserves the attention of the international community.
Egypt: Women revolutionaries hope for greater say in post-Mubarak era
In the days following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Egyptians have begun to outline the characteristics of their ideal country. The “New Egypt” will be clean, it will lack discrimination, it will be corruption-free. The initiative is the beginning of a push for specific demands that were secondary to the removal of Mubarak during the 18 days of protests, and they signify the indomitable idealism and forward-thinking mentality of triumphant anti-government protesters.
Iran: Science Minister Urges Sex Segregation in Universities
TEHRAN (Reuters) - 's science minister has called for universities to enforce strict sex segregation, saying allowing men and women to mingle on campus is a sign of the influence of alien western values, media reported.
Strict laws adopted after the 1979 revolution which founded the Islamic Republic bar any contact between men and women, but implementation of those rules varies widely. Conservative politicians have often called for stricter observance.
Egypt: Women clash over Sharia law after Tahrir shows equality
Fatma Emam’s mother accused her of wanting to be a man and threatened to disown her if the 28-year- old joined the protests in Tahrir Square. She went anyway.
“There are so many women who like me defied their families,” Emam said after spending five days and four nights in downtown Cairo. “The revolution is not only taking place in Tahrir, it is taking place in every Egyptian house. It is the revolution of fighting the patriarch.”
Egypt: Nawal El Saadawi: 'We Will Not Let Egypt Burn'
Nawal El Saadawi -- an Egyptian psychiatrist, scholar, novelist, feminist and activist -- has been agitating for change in her home country for more than 50 years. An outspoken opponent of female genital mutilation, she was fired from her position as Egypt's director of health education in 1972. When President Anwar Sadat threw her in prison for her activism in 1981, she penned her memoirs on a roll of toilet paper. A committed secularist, her name appears on fundamentalist death lists.
Now 79, she has lived in exile off and on for the past 15 years, teaching at Duke University and Spelman College. For the past year or so, she's been back at home in Egypt, writing and organizing young activists. The Root's Rebecca Walker caught up with her early this morning as she was heading out into the streets of Cairo -- right before President Mubarak stepped down.
Afghanistan: Proposal Would Clamp Down on Women’s Shelters
KABUL, Afghanistan — After her parents threw her out of the house for refusing to marry a 52-year-old widower with five children, Sabra, 18, boarded a bus that dropped her, afraid and confused, in downtown Kabul. She slept in a mosque for days, barely eating, until a woman took pity on her and put her in touch with human rights workers, who escorted her to a women’s shelter.
That journey — terrifying enough for a young woman who had never ventured beyond the corner bazaar — would become harder still under new rules being drafted by the Afghan government that women’s advocates say will deter the most vulnerable women and girls from seeking refuge and are placing shelters under siege.
Saudi Arabia: Away from the cities, women take to the roads
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Whenever Hawazen Ebrahim’s family spends an evening picnicking in the desert outside of Medina, it’s her job to jump into the car and drive to the nearest village to load up on extra supplies. During the week, she is responsible for taking the kids to school and picking them up each day.
Indonesia: Activists Criticize Clerics Over Dress Code
The Network for Civil Society Concerned with Sharia (JMSPS) in Aceh has criticized clerics and asked them not to overly interfere in enforcing the Muslim dress code, especially for Muslim women in the province.
“Aceh clerics should not stunt their important position by dealing with trivial matters related to the daily lives of Aceh residents,” said Hendra Fadli from the Aceh Legal Aid Institute (LBH).
The Aceh LBH is one of 15 NGOs affiliated with the JMSPS in Aceh.