unde este “adevaratul” razboi impotriva femeilor

“The Worst Places to be a Woman”: un slideshow in revista Foreign Policy (intr-un “Sex Issue”) cu harti despre citiva indici privind drepturile femeilor in lume:

  • – Discrepanta in educatie
  • – Inegalitate in legi/practici legate de familie
  • – Participarea femeilor la guvernare
  • – Casatoria timpurie pentru femei: legi si practici
  • – Mortalitate maternala
  • – Siguranta fizica a femeilor
  • – Poliginie
  • – Preferinta pentru fii si raportul femei-barbati

Este interesant de vazut ca Romania se plaseaza printre ultimile in mai multe din aceste categorii.

Dar pe langa concluzii despre care locuri sint cele mai dezavantajoase pentru femei, o analiza excelenta care trebuie citita si luata in considerare despre discursul si demersul acestui “Mapping the places where the war on women is still being fought” si axarii pe Orientul Mijlociu – cu o referinta foarte utila la situatia post-’89 din Europa de Est:

“Let’s Talk about Sex”

[…] It is commendable that Foreign Policy highlights the all too common silence about sex and gender politics in its own pages. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a serious and continued engagement, rather than a one off matter. Despite the editors’ good intentions, however, Foreign Policy disturbingly reproduces much of the dominant and sensationalist discourse about sex in the Middle East. The “Sex Issue” leaves much to be desired.

To begin with, it is purportedly about how sex shapes the world’s politics. But with the exception of one article that urges US foreign policy makers to understand women as a foreign policy issue and a target of their “smart-power arsenal,” its focus is almost exclusively on Iran, the Arab world, and China. Thus “the world” is reduced for the most part to Arabs, Iranians, and Chinese—not a coincidental conglomeration of the “enemy.” The current war on women in the United States is erased.


Many writers and activists have called El Tahawy to account for erasing women’s histories. For Arabs, like all peoples, have histories that one must engage, as Lila Abu-Lughod reminds us, in order to understand the “forms of lives we find around the world.” Critics have pointed to the long history of the Egyptian women’s movement and that formative moment in 1923 when Huda Sha‘rawi took off her face veil at the Ramses train station. This is a useful point to revisit, if only to reflect on why the liberalism that Sha‘rawi and her cohorts fought for—men and women—drastically and resoundingly failed. One reason, and there are many, was that liberalism resonated with only a small elite. As Hanan Kholoussy points out, women under domestic confinement who like Sha‘rawi were expected to don the face veil made up only two percent of Egypt’s five million females at the end of the nineteenth century.

One would have to also critically and historically engage how women’s movements have been implicated in the policies and longevity of authoritarianism. After all, the two countries where women enjoyed the broadest scope of personal status law were Tunisia and Egypt, before the recent revolutions. Indeed, of all the countries of the Arab world, it was only in Tunisia and Egypt that a woman could pass her citizenship on to her children if she was married to a foreigner. (In Egypt there was a small qualification for women married to that other other, the Palestinian; post-revolutionary Egypt has, at least in law if not in practice, done away with this exception).

How can we account for these legal achievements under authoritarian regimes? We could turn to the source of El Tahawy’s inspiration: Fareed Zakaria’s “Why They Hate Us: The Politics of Rage.” There, Zakaria’s muddled logic counsels: “we have to help moderate Arab states, but on the condition that they embrace moderation.” As Mahmood Mamdani and Lila Abu-Lughod often write, moderate Islam has often been produced on the wings of women’s and minority rights.

We can also look to the experiences of feminists and women’s activists. Rema Hammami and Eileen Kuttab have shown that in the Palestinian context, the women’s movement lacked a coherent strategy linking gender equality to democracy. The women’s movement thus appeared to be sponsored by the Palestinian Authority; its fate became dependent on that of the political system. In 1999, Hammami and Kuttab warned:

Examples are myriad—eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union saw massive attacks on women’s rights issues after the fall of communist regimes because they came to be associated with other undemocratic and unpopular regime policies. Turkey, Algeria, Egypt are situations where you have small women’s movements whose popular legitimacy is lost because over time they have been seen as linked to or sponsored by authoritarian secular regimes.

Is it liberalism then that will fight off the misogyny of authoritarianism? Is the much-feared Islamist summer the real enemy here? And if so, how do we explain that it is women just as much as men, as Shadi Hamid has noted, who have gone to the ballot box and voted Islamists into power?


The battle against misogyny does not follow a “men hate women” formula. It cannot be reduced to a generic battle of the sexes spiced with a dose of Islam and culture. It cannot be extracted from the political and economic threads that, together with patriarchy, produce the uneven terrain that men and women together navigate. It is these lessons that one would have to engage before meting out an indictment about the politics of sex, much less envisioning a future of these politics. There is no one answer because there is no single culprit, no single “culture” or “hatred” that we can root out and replace with “tolerance” or “love.” Similarly, the absence of a sustained and critical attention to sex and gender cannot be solved, syllabus style, by a separate glossy special “Sex Issue,” the content and form of which reproduce what it purports to critique.

comunicat: Ziua internaţională a femeilor – 8 martie 2009

Bucuresti, 08 Martie 2009 – Mesajul doamnei Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, Director Executiv al UNFPA, Fondul ONU pentru Populaţie

Astăzi, cu ocazia Zilei internaţionale a femeilor, haideţi să ne unim eforturile pentru a pune capăt violenţei îndreptate împotriva femeilor şi a fetelor. Continue reading

16 days: women of zimbabwe arise!

WOZA AND MOZA commemorate Human Rights Day in the streets of Bulawayo – no cause for celebration

OVER 1,000 members of WOZA marched through the streets of central Bulawayo today to the offices of the state-owned Chronicle newspaper. The peaceful group distributed flyers calling on the so-called government to stand aside to allow the United Nations to deal with the humanitarian crisis. Other flyers distributed by the group demanded the immediate release of Jestina Mukoko, Violet Mupfuranhehwe and her two-year old baby and the other pro-democracy activists abducted in the last few weeks. They also sang custom-composed songs to portray their message. No arrests have been reported at the time of this release.

The peaceful protest also commemorated Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights under the theme – Human Rights of Women – Human Rights for All. Zimbabweans – stand up for the TRUTH and it will set you free of this regime.

see also: “A High Court judge in Zimbabwe has ordered police to launch a search for a human rights activist Jestina Mukoko abducted from her home last week”, “Women refuse to be silenced by Robert Mugabe”

via lfn

16 days: nov. 25 in mexico

Pain and Protest on the Day of the Butterflies: Violence Persists Against Women in Mexico

A 1995 novel by writer Julia Alvarez retold the story of the three Mirabal sisters brutally assassinated by the Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic in 1960. Decades later, the date of the murders, Nov. 25, was declared the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women by the United Nations.

In Mexico, more than 200 women’s and human rights activists kicked off a cross-country caravan in Ciudad Juarez to protest femicide and ongoing violence in all its forms against women.

via lfn

WILPF Statement for International Human Rights Day, 10 December 2008

Today, 10 December 2008, marks the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) by the United Nations General Assembly. The UDHR is a major achievement of the United Nations, setting a common human rights standard for all nations and peoples. Its legally binding International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and their Optional Protocols, as well as the many conventions and treaties to promote and protect human rights for all, form a remarkable body of international human rights law.

In this 60th anniversary year, the United Nations has undertaken an intensive programme of activities leading up to today’s commemoration, under the slogan “dignity and justice for all of us”. It culminates in sixteen days of action against gender based violence.

The implementation of accepted human rights norms remains a significant challenge. Although the international human rights standards and their oversight have been strengthened over the years, forces and trends (by States and private companies) continue to threaten and undermine their application. Too often under the false pretext of protecting women, women are denied the right to education, mobility, the right to their own body and the free choice to plan their own future. All over the world, women have to struggle for basic human rights in many aspects of their lives.

Since its inception in 1915, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has worked for all human rights to be respected. We have equally worked for the prevention of war and the eradication of militarism, believing that these conditions negate human rights. We are convinced that human rights cannot exist without peace and freedom.

Exercising the right to have an equal voice in international policy-making and the questions of war and peace, The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom calls for: Continue reading

fwd: III International Congress on Islamic Feminism

Third International Congress on Islamic Feminism
Barcelona 24th-27th October 2008

The Third International Congress on Islamic Feminism has been announced by Junta Islàmica Catalana (Catalonian Islamic Board) and will take place in Barcelona, 24th-27th October 2008.

The conference will be focused on the problems of Muslim women in the Global era. Many Muslim women today are facing a double oppression: economic (neo-liberalism) and political (religious fundamentalism). The Congress will consider the responses given by Islamic feminists to this situation, and their contribution towards the construction of a new civil society worldwide, based on a culture of human rights and Qur’anic values such as democracy, social justice, freedom of conscience and gender equality.

Distinguished Muslim personalities will be attending, such as Bouthaina Shaaban, Syria’s Minister for Refugees and candidate for Nobel Peace Prize; and Baroness Uddin, the first Muslim woman becoming member of the House of Lords in Britain.


must read

“Why That Police Brutality Stuff Matters” by brownfemipower

… [she] didn’t do anything to deserve it.

And then I went back and thought of all the other dismissals about the police brutality we’ve seen.

What were those protesters expecting?
What did they think was going to happen?
Why were they even there?
Who cares, it’s their own fault for causing trouble!

It’s just a bunch of old hippies and troublemakers looking for attention!

I’ve heard all this before. I’ve heard all this before over and over and over again.

What was she thinking?
What was she expecting was going to happen?
Why was she even there?
Who cares, it’s her own fault for causing trouble!
It’s just some fat bitch looking for some attention!

… I think that for violence against women to end, violence on all levels must be questioned, challenged and interrogated–violence on all levels regardless of who is committing it, must stop making sense. Police brutality at protest events matter because it exposes where violence makes sense to us, or where power makes sense to us.

It exposes where victim blaming begins, and exactly how those in positions of power write themselves into power by using victim excuse making…

… Where does it end? How does it end?

When do we get to stop asserting that a woman that is forced to comply against her will to any form of power didn’t deserve it?

When will we stop checking to make sure she didn’t deserve it–just in case she did?

on the absurdities of nationalism, and more – situation in georgia

“Russia and Georgia: Darkness Falls”
by Natalia Antonova, GlobalComment

… The unthinkable is already happening before us, and history has entered a gloomy and bewildering chapter. This is the sort of thing that happens when empires fail; it’s bloody and vile. It reeks of gunpowder and rot and the dried-up glue that used to hold together our old, red memorial wreaths.

Now, for all the understandable grief surrounding the loss of life, I have found something to be bitterly amused about:

It’s hilarious how quickly some start shouting that “hey those are Russian citizens we are fighting for!!!” Yes, that is factually true, many South Ossetians do have Russian passports now, and Moscow has to take responsibility for these people whether it wants to or not.

But isn’t it funny how the people of that region, normally viewed as “black-assed thugs,” have suddenly become our brothers and sisters, our secret lovers and best friends?

Obviously this isn’t the philosophy of all Russian people, I am pointing this out because those I have seen beating their chests about how Moscow is being “overtaken” by “darkies” are the same people beating their chests over the fate of South Ossetians.

The absurdities of nationalism know no bounds.

The joy with which such people greet pictures of dead Georgians is diabolical. Their desire to see Russian soldiers fall due to some misguided notions regarding “glory” is equally diabolical. They do not value Georgian lives, but neither do they value the lives of their own troops or the lives of South Ossetians they are supposed to care about.

The loudest of the loud among us do not have sons serving in the Russian army, or so I have noticed.

This isn’t to say that I am a fan of Georgia’s President Saakashvili, however. I think it’s laughable that some writers are busy painting a picture of the genteel Saakashvili and uniformly bloodthirsty, fanged Russians. Have we learned nothing from Georgia’s squashed opposition? Do we really think that Saakashvili has the best interests of his people in mind? Or the best interests of the South Ossetians who are, predictably, almost invisible in this conflict?

Political elites benefit from grand-standing, regular people just lose their limbs in the process.

The West is no better in this regard. We have shouted all we could about Kosovo, OMIGOD Kosovo! The BBC quickly points out lawlessness in South Ossetia, but it takes years for anyone to mention lawlessness in aforementioned Kosovo. This is because it was easy to get involved in the Balkans, and not so easy to do the same in this part of the world.

Ultimately, the nations who have encouraged Georgia to join Nato will wash their hands of this conflict. When it comes to what matters more, Tbilisi or Moscow, Moscow will win out. It’s expedient to kick smaller nations to the curb in favour of the big guys, and I say this as someone who has a hell of a lot in common with the Russian Federation and its interests.

Who knows? Perhaps this entire conflict will serve to benefit Russian-American relations. On Air Force One, high above the toils of ordinary life and death, people who will benefit from this disaster can toast each other while the dead are being buried. …

see also: latest coverage on RFE/RL, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, and Democracy Now!

A reckoning for the women victims – rape recognized as war tactic

“A reckoning for the women victims of the Bosnian war?”

… We will never know how many women were raped in Bosnia and Croatia. What we do know is that mass rape occurred and it was not a specific aspect of Serb brutality. There has always been rape in war. What this war did was to bring it out of the shadows, out of the dismissive inattention that accompanies the phrase “war propaganda”, or “the fog of war”. Rape is as much a fact of war, of the control of civilian populations, as ethnic cleansing. It took a modern women’s movement to collect the data and a critical mass of women journalists to insist on writing about it. From then on, rape in war would be taken seriously.

With the arrest two days ago of Radovan Karadzic, and his forthcoming trial in The Hague, there might now be some debate about justice for the women so abused.

Invitation to 2008 AWID Forum

animateforum.gifThe 11th AWID International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development

The Power of Movements

November 14-17, 2008
Cape Town, South Africa

The struggle for women’s rights continues to face formidable challenges.

Fundamentalist forces have gained ground around the world, exerting an increased control on women’s lives. The Millennium Development Goals alongside the new aid architecture have restructured development assistance with women’s rights taking a back seat. The HIV and AIDS pandemic has continued to spread, with women being disproportionately affected. Migration has become an increasingly feminized phenomenon, particularly in relation to issues of labour and sexual exploitation. Militarization has increased, with particularly devastating impacts on women, while at the same time “security” agendas have obscured global strategies for human development and the eradication of poverty. Continue reading