News and Views by Region
Palestine: Honour Killing Draws Government & Social Response
A 20-year-old Palestinian woman who was thrown into a well and left to die in the name of “family honour” has not become just another statistic in one of the Middle East’s most shameful practices.
The killing of Aya Baradiya — by an uncle who didn’t like a potential suitor — sparked such outrage that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas scrapped laws this week that guaranteed sentences of six months or less for such killings.
And in another sign of changing attitudes, the young college student is being mourned as a “martyr” and her grieving parents are being embraced, not shunned, by neighbours.
Iran: University Student Writes on Violence Against Women - “Invisible Wounds”
University of Tehran student Shadi Reyhani writes a piece on the invisible violence against Iranian women.
You know, violence is not always about swollen eyes, broken teeth, and bloody noses. Violence can be the humiliation that comes from a dirty look; when a man looks down upon the fallen collar of a woman’s shirt while she is serving tea or the look of a brother when his sister is laughing out loud at a dinner party. These are looks that are invisible to us.
Iran: Gang rapes cause fear and religious controversy
Recent reports of gang rapes in Iran are worrying women and raising questions about social values, reports Mohammad Manzarpour of the BBC Persian Service.
In a religiously conservative town near the city of Isfahan, women at a private party were abducted last month and gang raped at knife point.
One week later, a female university student was attacked and raped by unknown assailants on the heavily-guarded campus in Masshad, a holy city.
A Conversation With Saudi Women's Rights Campaigner Wajeha Al-Huwaider
Wajeha al-Huwaider is perhaps the best-known Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She has protested energetically against the kingdom’s lack of formal laws (the Koran is it) and basic freedoms and in particular against the guardianship system, under which every female, from birth to death, needs the permission of a male relative to make decisions in all important areas of life—education, travel, marriage, employment, finances, even surgery.
Saudi Arabia: Shoura council favors women voting
The Shoura Council recommended to the government on Monday that it take necessary measures to allow Saudi women to vote in municipal elections under Islamic law.
The decision was taken unanimously by members of the council, which also discussed the annual report of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs during its 38th regular session, chaired by the Shoura Chairman Abdullah Al-Asheikh in Riyadh on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters, Shoura Council Secretary-General Muhammad Al-Ghamdi said the house took the decision when the council's committee on housing, water and public services tabled its comments on the report, which covered the fiscal year 1427/1428 AH.
United Arab Emirates: Cross-dressing women targeted in Dubai campaign
Police are launching a campaign against cross-dressing women. The Government says boyat - loosely translated as tomboys - are indulging in a dangerous practice. Officials from the police and the Community Development Authority said yesterday they would work together on plans to combat boyat.
Virginity tests: Misogyny and intimidation in Egypt
The Egyptian military's use of so-called virginity tests against female democracy protesters in Tahrir Square is part of a long tradition of using sexual harassment as a tool of social control.
The ugly allegations of so-called "virginity tests" being deployed from the torture arsenal of the Egyptian military would be hard to believe if they didn't fit a longstanding pattern among 's security forces: Using sexual harassment and torture centered around sexuality against government opponents.
broke the news with a report on the case of 18 women detained by the military for protesting at on March 9.
The Hymen Obsession: Inequality & Harassment in Egypt
I am not writing this for the average Ali or Mahmoud on the streets of Cairo or Alexandria; rather this is written with the forward looking progressives of Egypt in mind; the internet savvy Egyptians of Twitter, Facebook & You Tube. Some ten years ago I went with my family to an Arab American convention in Washington DC, at the dinner table there was another Egyptian American family and their late teenage son & daughter who told us of their experience moving back to Egypt for a couple of years. The son loved it but the daughter complained bitterly of her experience in Egypt; I am sure you can guess why: sexual harassment!
Saudi Arabia: Possible move to ban child brides
In a country where no laws protect children from marriage, efforts to make wedlock more female-friendly raises conservatives’ ire.
The case of a nine-year-old girl given away in marriage by her father to a 58-year-old man because of argument with his wife shocked many . Widespread media coverage brought the plight of child brides to the fore in the oil-rich Gulf kingdom where no law currently protects children like "the Unayzah girl," as she was called after her home town, from the misery of early marriage.
Paradoxes of Iranian Society Spur on Heroic Women
(IPS) - Haleh Sahabi is the latest Iranian woman to die in political violence. On Wednesday, security forces attempting to cut short the Tehran funeral of her father scuffled with Sahabi, 55, who .
Sahabi had been let out of prison, where she was serving a two-year term for human rights activism, to attend the funeral.