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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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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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‘Yes’ Vote Ends 35 Years of Shame and Secrecy for Irish Women and Girls

The first vote I ever cast was in one of the six referendums that Ireland has had on abortion. Today, I watched with tears of joy as it became clear that two-thirds of Irish people voted to repeal the 35-year constitutional ban on…
Women celebrate the result of yesterday's referendum on liberalizing abortion law, in Dublin, Ireland, May 26, 2018.
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Women Were Incorrectly Cleared as Cancer-Free

Cervical cancer need not be a death sentence. Between vaccination, routine screening, timely follow up, and early detection, cervical cancer is preventable and highly curable. When a woman dies from cervical cancer, something went wrong. For at least 17…
Vicky Phelan speaks on the Ray D'Arcy Show. Phelan was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2014, although a screening test from 2011 should have found strong indications of the presence of cancer.
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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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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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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.
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Women in Ireland are live tweeting their periods to Prime Minister Enda Kenny, in protest of the state’s long-held legislative control over their bodies. One woman detailed the length of time she’d been menstruating and the level of flow. Another…
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“We women must respect ourselves. You cannot stay with a man drinking until 3 a.m.” This was the response from Mary Wambui, a member of parliament, to recent protests by female legislators and women’s rights activists over accusations that Gideon Mwiti,…
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The Irish president signed the “Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill” — the so-called  “abortion bill” — into law, meaning that for the first time in history a girl or woman with a life-threatening pregnancy in Ireland has legal safeguards on how she…