Wednesday, August 22, 2018


According to many research studies that will be noted here, slavery and pimp-controlled prostitution are the same experience from the perspective of the enslaved or prostituted. The abuses of power in prostitution and the abuses of power in slavery, discussed here, are profound social injustices resulting in great harm.3 The same arguments that justified the abolition of slavery also justify the abolition of prostitution. Pimps and traffickers are traders who own and enslave human beings. Sex buyers purchase these people, exploiting and abusing them. The adverse consequences resulting from harms inflicted by sex buyers on the women they use, rent, or own are discussed here. The inequalities and harms in prostitution are paralleled by inequalities and harms in relationships between slave owners and slaves. In the 1800s, conditions in the South and in the Atlantic African slave trade were so inhumane that they precipitated an international movement for emancipation and for abolition of legal slavery. Today, the same kinds of abuse have ignited a similar movement to abolish the global business of prostitution. As in the nineteenth century, the legal definition of slavery is today debated in some quarters, including whether or not an understanding 
 of slavery should be applied to prostitution.
Leer más...

Monday, August 20, 2018

Egypt's feminists laud mass appointment of women as top judges

Women's rights activists and jurists hailed a decision by the Supreme Judiciary Council earlier this month to promote 16 female judges, expressing hope that women in top judicial positions will make their mark on the gender-sensitive issues that come before the courts.

"I am very optimistic about the promotion of the 16 female judges as it may bring forth another interpretation of laws, especially those concerning female genital mutilation, rape, safe abortion, inheritance and violence against women and eventually reform the judicial system," Randa Fakhr El-Deen, executive director of Egypt's union of nongovernmental organizations working to protect women and children, told Al-Monitor.

Fakhr El-Deen said that the long overdue move reflects the Egyptian leadership's willingness to move toward recognizing equal rights and ensuring the fair representation of women in Egypt’s judiciary.

Hadia Abdel Fattah, a women’s rights activist and founder of an anti-harassment initiative, said that feminists face “a male mentality” in judicial and wider government circles. With the increased presence of female judges in the judicial system, changes and reform, particularly regarding women’s issues, are possible.

Female activists in Egypt have been pushing for efficient implementation of new laws that protect women, such as the penalization of female genital mutilation and jail terms for those who marry underage girls as well as upcoming legislation that would penalize families who allow such marriages. They ask for maximum penalties for domestic violence, swift divorce under fair conditions for women and a no-tolerance attitude toward harassment and rape.

“When we feminists push for changes in laws affecting women, we get stuck with a male-dominated judicial community. Men in Egypt do not feel women’s problems as much as women do. That is why having female judges can be very helpful for women in Egypt,” she told Al-Monitor.

One of the plum posts is Qena Appeals Court, one of the top judicial rank now taken over by Judge Amal Ammar, a member of the Egyptian National Council for Women.

National Council for Women chairwoman Maya Morsi said that the Egyptian Constitution's Article 11 guarantees women’s right to high administration posts, including the judiciary. Morsi added that there are currently 66 female judges in the country. The number was reached in four batches of large-scale nominations — all of them in the last 15 years, almost half a century after other regional countries such as Lebanon, Iraq and pre-revolutionary Iran. In 2003, Tahani al-Gebali was appointed to the Supreme Constitutional Court. In 2007, the first female judges and prosecutors were appointed. More appointments followed in 2008, 2015 and 2017.

Yet, Egypt’s female jurists still have to break into the all-powerful State Council. The council issues legal opinions and reviews bills, resolutions and draft contracts for the state and public entities. The National Council for Women and some individual female jurists have been battling for access to this powerful body to no avail. Though there is no legislation banning their appointment, the State Council has kept women out via its own selection process.

Nevertheless, Gebali sees the recent appointments as a success story for women in the judicial sector. She told Al-Monitor, "The process started in 2003, when I was the first woman to be appointed vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court and then tens of female judges were appointed in Egypt's courts in 2007. It is normal now for these female judges after being for several years in the judicial system to be promoted."

Gebali said that women's involvement can transform and reform the system, explaining, "There were many distinguished female graduates of Egypt's law schools who were not allowed to take up posts in this field. Now, those efficient women are being appointed as judges and also being promoted to leading posts. This is for sure a huge benefit to the judiciary system in the country."

But she added that 66 female judges out of a total of 17,000 judges in Egypt are not nearly enough. “Although the number of female judges is still low, I believe that Egypt’s new leadership is adamant on getting women to join every field in the country, especially the judicial system,” Gebali concluded.
Menna A. Farouk
Menna A. Farouk is an Egyptian journalist who has been writing about social, political and cultural issues in Egypt since 2013. She is an editor at The Egyptian Gazette newspaper. Farouk has covered stories about the unrest that followed the January 2011 revolution, press freedom, immigration and religious reforms. On Twitter: @MennaFarouk91

Read more:
Leer más...

Saturday, August 18, 2018


Helen Wairimu, 106, walks home after a Shosho Jikinge class. In 2016, a young man came to Helen’s home and raped her. Helen still participates in the class every week, and encourages the other women to train harder. In Korogocho and Kibera, located on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, a widespread superstition that having sex with a grandmother can cure HIV and remove all sins has led to many elderly women becoming targets for sexual assault. But recently, local groups known as Shosho Jikinge (Grandmother Defend Yourself) have formed to teach them how to fight back. In this series, photographer Nadja Wohlleben (@nadjawohlleben) shows how these women are learning how to identify potential attackers, use their voices, and escape dangerous situations.

Leer más...

Friday, August 17, 2018

Australia - Dowry Abuse Legislation Passed in Victoria

 After much campaigning to introduce anti-dowry legislation in Australia, the Victorian Parliament passed the Family Violence Protection and Other Matters Bill 2018 earlier this month. The Bill will come into effect in December 2018 and will make Victoria the first Australian state to outlaw dowry abuse and recognise "abuse to demand or receive a dowry, either before or after a marriage" as a form of domestic and family violence. The Bill achieves this by redefining the meaning of family violence to include "using coercion, threats, physical abuse or emotional or psychological abuse to demand or receive a dowry, either before or after a marriage". This means that women who are experiencing dowry-related coercion, emotional, verbal or physical abuse will be able to report the abuse to police. The Bill has now passed to the Governor for royal assent.
16 August 2018 -
Leer más...

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Shehla Masood

Leer más...

Belief systems and gender norms fuel violence against women: exploring the beliefs and behaviours of young women and men

The report identifies eight belief systems and gender norms that fuel violence against women in the region. The accompanying beliefs and behaviours for each belief system and norm are described, showing both the regional trend and a comparison across the eight countries studied, highlighting the country or countries with the highest prevalence. These belief systems and gender norms are related to control of women’s bodies and sexuality and are rooted in the construction of a subordinated femininity and a hegemonic masculinity.7 The persistence of such beliefs and behaviours has a direct correlation with social impunity for perpetrators of violence against women and girls. 
For the analysis, we have used the metaphor of three mirrors: distorting mirrors, augmenting mirrors and worn/outdated mirrors. We consider belief systems and gender norms as representing mirrors in which men and women are obliged to see themselves, behaving in such a way as to ensure compliance with the gender stereotypes prescribed for them throughout their lives.

Distorting mirrors are the belief systems and gender norms associated with direct control over women’s bodies in relation to one of the strongest champions of hegemonic masculinity: male virility. Augmenting mirrors are beliefs and norms associated with expressions of control, but in relation to romantic love and the obligations of a concept of sexuality that leaves no room for anything other than compulsory heterosexuality. The main aspect of worn/outdated mirrors is the standardization of certain forms of violence and the provisions that have become entrenched as the attributes of a ‘good woman’.;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
Leer más...

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Belief systems and gender norms: how to identify them?

In this report, we use the concept of belief systems and gender norms to explain that the beliefs and behaviours that constitute them are deeply entrenched in the system that produces, reproduces and sustains violence against women. Language also plays a significant role, with discourse and repetition or replication (of both discourse and actions) shaping our ways of seeing, hearing, thinking and doing. Chauvinistic, sexist and racist beliefs and behaviours are replicated at the personal, group and society levels. 
The concept of gender norms stresses the importance of institutions or reference groups that have the power to determine which behaviours are appropriate for women and men, and which are not. These reference groups include friends, teachers, artists or musicians, parents, religious leaders, social networks or sports personalities, among others. 

The concept of belief systems takes into consideration the elements that determine gender norms (reference groups and behaviours), but also places context and culture in a central role, where certain institutions have acted to build and define structures which, in effect, serve to regulate what people should think, believe and do. Such institutions (family, church, markets, the media and educational institutions) have the power to dictate rules and deny the interests of certain groups (Figure 1). They thus succeed in institutionalizing gender-based inequalities by encouraging girls and boys, men and women, to internalize the roles prescribed to them by society. These institutions also tend to have 
substantial influence on the implementation of public policies.
It is important to stress that male-dominated, sexist and racist belief systems and gender norms, with their associated beliefs and behaviours, can be transformed. All of us can play a part in promoting alternative belief systems and gender norms, through individual as well as collective action. Changes at a personal level are vital, while bearing in mind that it is essential that any transgression of beliefs or behaviours must have an influence on the group: we must influence those whose power and control over consciences and behaviours has entrenched inequality.;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
Leer más...

Sunday, August 12, 2018

What is doing to change harmful belief systems and gender norms

 Oxfam has been working with feminist and women’s organizations to eradicate male violence through specific programmes and campaigns for around 20 years. We have been supporting the agendas of feminist and women’s organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean through stand-alone programmes on women’s rights, working on initiatives for the eradication of all types of violence against women, the economic rights of women, transformative leadership and participation of women, and campaigns led by feminist organizations in 9 of the 13 countries in which we work. 

Much progress has been achieved since 2017. We have committed to going beyond a funding role in the campaign Enough! Together We Can End Violence Against Women and Girls2, which focuses on young women and men aged 15–25 to transform the belief systems and gender norms which reinforce violence against women. This campaign is being implemented in eight countries, led by feminist and women’s organizations, young activists and Oxfam.
As part of Oxfam’s role in the campaign, this report helps to identify and analyse the belief systems and gender norms that fuel violence against women and girls in the region. We hope it will focus attention on this pernicious problem, which reproduces beliefs and behaviours, particularly among young people, and which entrenches social impunity for male violence. Oxfam has had the support of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) in the management of the national research teams for collection and processing of data in seven countries, while data collection in Bolivia was coordinated by Oxfam, Coordinadora de la Mujer and, Diagnosis. 

The research findings are based on analysis of 4731 surveys carried out with young women and men aged 15–25 in March and April 2017, together with reflections derived from 47 focus group discussions and 49 in-depth interviews carried out in June and July 2017.4 The report provides an overview of regional trends, as well as a comparative analysis across Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – the eight countries involved in the Enough campaign.
As well as information collected at country level, the report uses other key sources of insights on belief systems and gender norms, such as regional discussions convened by Oxfam, with broad participation from the feminist movement, and particularly the regional conference, ‘Resistance and alliances in the face of inequalities and violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean’, held in Medellín, Colombia, in March 2016. The report also reflects the processes for Enough campaign design in the various countries and on a regional level, which have provided platforms for debate and collaboration between partner organizations, young people, and Oxfam teams. 

We trust that the analysis provided by this research will be useful for all actors working to eradicate violence against women and girls in the region, and that it will also help to improve coordination between the various programme and campaign strategies seeking to achieve change. In this sense, the report should be central to the design of country campaigns, and a tool for collaboration between feminist and women’s organizations, young people and Oxfam.;jsessionid=C0B9203D92B240B38BE44DEFB762EC55?sequence=3
Leer más...