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On the campaign trail and during his first three months in office, President Biden promised a US return to a multilateral foreign policy that supports human rights. That is an important vision for the Middle East, a region often destabilized…
President Joe Biden speaks about foreign policy, at the State Department in Washington, February 4, 2021. 
News

Allegations Against NY Governor Cuomo Highlight Need for Real Protections

The sexual harassment accusations against New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo are mounting as women turn to the media — on Twitter, in a personal essay, and in high-profile interviews with national news outlets — to detail their allegations against…
Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development adviser for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaks in front of microphones and a crowd of people holding signs at a rally in New York City, March 20, 2021. 
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Summary Over the past two decades, women and girls in Indonesia have faced unprecedented legal and social demands to wear clothing deemed Islamic as part of broader efforts to impose the rules of Sharia, or Islamic law, in many parts of the country.…
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(Jakarta, March 18, 2021) – Dress codes for women and girls in Indonesia discriminate against students, civil servants, and visitors to government offices and should be revoked, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government should…
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Abortion Restrictions Defeated; Paid Family Leave, Mandatory Sex Education Adopted

With all eyes seemingly on the US presidential election, it’s easy to miss some of the exciting progress made on gender equality at the state level. Colorado voters had two big initiatives on their ballot, one to expand paid family and medical…
Boxes of vote-by-mail ballot envelopes are shown at the King County election headquarters in Renton, Washington, October 23, 2020. 
News

Entrenched Discrimination, Violence Mar Gains 25 Years after Beijing

(New York) – Governments should mark International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020 with moves to expedite progress on gender equality, Human Rights Watch said today. They should plan for concerted action and dedicate resources to prevent…
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  “Evelina” (not her real name), 17, looks immaculate in her pressed white-and-blue school uniform and her neatly divided cornrows, as she futilely tries to escape the sweltering heat of western Kenya beneath a shady tree. Her black leather shoes…
“Evelina,” 17, with her 3-year-old daughter “Hope,” in Migori county, western Kenya. Evelina is in Form 2, the second year of lower secondary school.
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On May 14, the Kenyan justice system failed women miserably. The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya, petitioned the High Court, challenging the provisions of section 7 of the Matrimonial Property Act, 2013. The section makes ownership of…
Two widows in eastern Zimbabwe, facing harassment from in-laws who are trying to force them to vacate their homes and fields. Rural Eastern Zimbabwe, October 2016.
News

Supporting Land Rights an Important Step

Earlier this week, the House Foreign Affairs committee approved a new bipartisan bill addressing women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. It’s not comprehensive legislation on women’s economic empowerment – it doesn’t address…
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Hold Violators to Account, Abolish 'Virginity Tests'

(New York) – The Indonesian military should deter abuses by its personnel and hold human rights violators accountable, Human Rights Watch said in a letter made public today to the new Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) commander, Marshal…
Indonesian President Joko Widodo attaches the rank to the new Armed Forces Chief Marshal Hadi Tjahjanto during an inauguration ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, Indonesia, December 8, 2017
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Military, Police Claim Discriminatory Practice is for ‘Morality Reasons’

(Jakarta) – Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo should order Indonesia’s police chief and armed forces commander to immediately ban so-called “virginity tests” of female applicants, Human Rights Watch said today. By ending the practice, the…
201711Asia_Indonesia_VirginityTest Members of the Indonesian Air Force parade during celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Air Force at Halim Perdanakusuma air base in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 9, 2016.
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Robot Visits US, Afghan Girls Stuck at Home

We want to make a difference and most breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great.  – Team Afghanistan’s statement on the competition website They…
Members of Afghan robotics girls team which was denied entry into the United States for a competition, work on their robots in Herat province, Afghanistan July 4, 2017.
News

Recent US policy changes hurt the fight for safe motherhood not just around the world, but in the US as well

Dozens of countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the same day as the United States, including countries as diverse as Cambodia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Brazil. But this holiday to celebrate and thank mothers is also one to mark devastating…
People gather for the Women's March in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017.
News

The Paycheck Fairness Act Would Help Protect Working Women’s Rights

Today is “Equal Pay Day,” symbolizing how far past 2016 and into 2017 women in the United States, on average, have to work to earn as much as men did in 2016. In other words, to bring home what men earn in 12 months, women have to work for more than 15…
A mother and her daughter participate in the International Women's Day "A Day Without a Woman" protest in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017.
News

Proposals Threaten Women’s Health, Safety, and Rights

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” So said Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. But Trump's other words and actions during and before the campaign made a mockery of that statement. We all know his record: the public…
Women take part in a protest against then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016
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Julia adopted a baby girl born four months premature in 2008. The baby weighed just 1.5 pounds and had to be resuscitated. Julia and her partner longed to have more time with their baby during the 110 days she spent in the hospital, but had to save their…
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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.
News
New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo pledged yesterday to prioritize passing a paid family leave law this year. In his State of the State address, he reflected on his own father’s death last year. He lamented that many New Yorkers cannot take time off…
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Two years ago, the signs were clear. My mother, with Alzheimer's, heart failure, and kidney failure, was not going to live long. My brothers and I took time off work for medical appointments and hospice care. I worried about her comfort, about how my dad…