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Allowing Private Employers to Ban Religious Dress Hurts Muslim Women Most

Protection of religious freedom – for Muslim women in particular – was dented last week by the European Union’s highest court’s ruling that permits employers to discriminate against people who wear religious dress. Ruling on two cases brought by…
Young women with headscarves sit in the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany on January 31, 2020. 
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Education Ministry has a Crucial Role in Addressing Teen Pregnancies

“I want to [talk] about female candidates who sat for the…examination [while] in hospitals. As I celebrate, I also want to castigate our parents in the most severe terms possible.” These were the words of Kenya’s cabinet secretary for education,…
young mothers collect books library
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Government Threatening to Leave Domestic Violence Treaty

Poland’s justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro confirmed on Saturday that he will pursue withdrawal from a landmark European treaty on violence against women. This is a worrying policy move on the part of the government, led by the Law and Justice party,…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
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Proposed Reparations Bill Chance to Compensate Post-Election Rape Survivors

This weekend, I received the sad news that Chepkorir had died. Chepkorir, whose name I have changed to protect her privacy, was raped in December 2007. The men who raped her beat her badly and she had been struggling with poor health…
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Authorities Remain Silent Despite Rising Public Outcry on Violence Against Women

Kenyan media has recently been awash with reports of gruesome killings of women. So far in 2019, dozens of women have reportedly been killed by their partners. Many others have been gravely injured. On International Women’s Day, Kenyan…
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First Lady Kenyatta’s “Beyond Zero” Campaign Ignores Key Issue

Five years ago, Kenya’s First Lady, Margaret Kenyatta, launched the “Beyond Zero” campaign to eradicate preventable maternal and child mortality in Kenya. The initiative has drawn support and criticism in equal measure from Kenyans, and…
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Survivors Should be Supported, Attackers Prosecuted

An article in Kenya’s Daily Nation recently profiled 10 women who were found murdered and warned other women they could be at risk of “a crime of passion.” “It appears that being young and upwardly mobile could put you at high risk of falling…
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Montreal Summit Provides Important Platform to Support Global Justice

In a first-of-its-kind summit, the world’s female foreign ministers will meet in Montreal today and tomorrow to discuss a range of global challenges, from advancing peace and security to eliminating violence against women and girls in…
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EU Should Act Against the Unlawful Practice Globally – And at Home

The European Union could do more to help end child marriage, and members of the European Parliament are working for it to do just that. On Thursday, the parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee adopted an…
End Child Marriage 2
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More Protection, Support for Victims Needed

Human Rights Watch research confirms that, once again, there was sexual violence against women and girls during the most recent post-election violence in Kenya. I interviewed over 50 victims and witnesses in Mathare, Kisumu, Bungoma, and Dandora.…
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As Election Nears, Victims Demand Reparations and Justice

Wamuyu told me how she was brutally gang-raped by three men in Busia, western Kenya, during the violence that engulfed Kenya following the disputed presidential election in December 2007. Her husband was murdered in the violence, she…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.
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Lack of Female Voices as UK Negotiations With EU Begin

When I opened today’s newspaper, I recognized the photograph: another crucial negotiation, determining key questions of security and regional stability. Eleven negotiators sat at the table: five men on one side, five men and one woman…
Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union David Davis and his delegation sit across from European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Michael Barnier and his delegation at the start of their first day of talks at the European Commission in B
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Body Signs Groundbreaking Treaty to Strengthen Prevention and Response

“We say: enough is enough.” That was the European Commission’s promise when its leaders announced 2017 as a year of action on violence against women in November 2016. On May 11, the European Union took a welcome step towards…
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“Europeans should not wear clothes made by exploiting garment workers,” Lola Sanchez Caldentey, a member of the European Parliament, boldly declared yesterday. She was speaking at an event commemorating the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, when…
An employee works in a factory of Babylon Garments in Dhaka January 3, 2014.
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Protecting Children of Rape, the Invisible Victims of Conflict and Political Violence

Akinyi was only 11 years old when three men broke into her home in Kericho, Kenya, in December 2007, as post-election violence raged, and gang raped her and her mother. Akinyi became pregnant, but did not want anything to do with the baby girl she bore.…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.
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EU-Wide Survey Reveals Disturbing Understanding of Violence against Women

Think all of your fellow citizens understand the definition of “rape”? Think again. In a recently published survey conducted in all 28 European Union member countries, over a quarter of respondents said that non-consensual sex can…
Gender studies students wearing masks pose with the word "Enough" written on their hands during a performance to commemorate victims of gender violence, during the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, in Oviedo, Spain Nove
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Emily, a widow from rural western Kenya, lived and farmed on her husband’s land for more than 30 years. While her husband was alive, they lived comfortably, and her four children were happy in school. This ended abruptly when her husband died, and her in-…
Female farmers resettled to Mwaladzi received land with poor access to water and limited productivity. The compensation package also included a new house.