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Women & Democracy

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The Ayatollah Under the Bed(sheets) - By Karim Sadjadpour. In the early years of the Iranian Revolution, an obscure cleric named Ayatollah Gilani became a sensation on state television by contemplating bizarre hypotheticals at the intersection of Islamic law and sexuality.

The Ayatollah Under the Bed(sheets) - By Karim Sadjadpour

One of his most outlandish scenarios -- still mocked by Iranians three decades later -- went like this: Imagine you are a young man sleeping in your bedroom. In the bedroom directly below, your aunt lies asleep. Military court hears evidence in Egyptian “virginity tests” case. February 27, 2012 by Shahira Amin A Cairo military court on Sunday heard witness testimony in a case against a soldier who allegedly performed “virginity tests” on seven female protesters on 10 March 2011. 22-year-old Samira Ibrahim filed a lawsuit against the military doctor whom she accuses of conducting the tests on her and six other female detainees near Tahrir Square.

Military court hears evidence in Egyptian “virginity tests” case

In December, Ibrahim won an earlier case against the Supreme Council of the Armed Force (SCAF) when a Cairo Administrative Court ruled that virginity checks should not take place again in military prisons. Who'd be a Woman in Egypt? On : Wednesday, 13 Jun, 2012 Egypt Unwrapped Recent attacks on female protesters in Tahrir Square have focussed attention on one of Egypt’s ugliest issues.

Who'd be a Woman in Egypt?

Egyptian demonstrators shout slogans against former President Hosni Mubarak and members of former regime in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Egypt: Military Impunity for Violence Against Women. (New York) – The March 11 acquittal of the only military officer charged in the “virginity tests” trial is a blow for any hopes of accountability for the abuses women have experienced at the hands of the Egyptian military over the past year, Human Rights Watch said today.

Egypt: Military Impunity for Violence Against Women

The military has failed to investigate and punish credible claims of other instances of violence by its members against women, including the beating and torture of women demonstrators by military officers on March 9 and December 16, 2011. The investigation and trial in the case, in which female protesters who had been detained testified that a military doctor subjected them to “virginity testing,” underscore the lack of independence of the military justice system in trying such cases, Human Rights Watch said. On the afternoon of March 9, 2011, military officers destroyed a tent camp belonging to demonstrators in Tahrir Square's central garden, and arrested at least 190 demonstrators. The Virginity Tests Trial. Who Cares How Many Women Are in Parliament? - By Joshua Foust and Melinda Haring. Last month The Economist published its annual infographic about the dearth of women in parliaments around the world.

Who Cares How Many Women Are in Parliament? - By Joshua Foust and Melinda Haring

Not surprisingly, some of the most-developed countries -- Sweden, Germany, New Zealand -- top the charts. (Also present are two African countries, Rwanda and South Africa, that have mandated parliamentary quotas for women.) Equitable representation of women in politics and government is an ideal promoted by every development organization and to which every Western government aspires. Though women comprise over 50 percent of the world's population, they are underrepresented as political leaders and elected officials. The National Democratic Institute puts it plainly: "Democracy cannot truly deliver for all of its citizens if half of the population remains underrepresented in the political arena. " To Be a Woman in Pakistan: Six Stories of Abuse, Shame, and Survival - Zara Jamal - International. Interviews with a handful of the country's 88 million women and girls Brides-to-be wait during a mass wedding ceremony in Karachi.

Reuters According to a 2011 poll of experts by the Thomson Reuters Foundation Poll, Pakistan is the third most dangerous country for women in the world. In a Baghdad E.R., Women's Psychological Wounds Go Untreated. I had been working at a trauma center in Baghdad for some time when an opportunity came up to transfer back to my old job — at a maternity hospital in Sadr City.

In a Baghdad E.R., Women's Psychological Wounds Go Untreated

But I backed out at the last minute. I knew the transfer would be good for me: I’d be far away from the stress and drama of the E.R., where I had spent a lot of time. I told myself that getting away would let me process what I had seen and experienced. But I wondered if I had gotten so used to chaos that I wouldn’t function in a peaceful, stable environment. When the transfer offer came, I was responsible for this hospital’s female medical ward. Kuwait: Court Victory for Women’s Rights. (Beirut) –A court decision on April 22, 2012, cancelling a ministerial order barring women from entry-level jobs at the Justice Ministry is an important victory against legally-sanctioned discrimination in Kuwait, Human Rights Watch said today.

Kuwait: Court Victory for Women’s Rights

Human Rights Watch urged the Kuwaiti government to act on the decision, to guarantee women equal access to all public jobs, and to amend or repeal gender-based discriminatory provisions from all its legislation. In July 2011, the Justice Ministry announced in local newspapers that it would accept applicants for “entry level legal researcher” – a first step to becoming a prosecutor. The advertisement specified that the positions were only open to male candidates, without providing any rationale for the restriction. Status of Women in 'Reformist' Morocco.

Just three years ago, a teenager from Western Sahara (which has long been occupied by Morocco) left a human rights meeting, at which point she was accosted, as she reveals in a YouTube video, by six plainclothes Moroccan policemen.

Status of Women in 'Reformist' Morocco

They pushed her into a waiting vehicle, blindfolded, and handcuffed her. And then they raped and sodomized her with truncheons, in the presence of high ranking Moroccan officers. Once that was done, they told her she would be killed if she decided to talk about her treatment at their hands. Saudi Feminism: Between Mama Amreeka and Baba Abdullah. On 9 May 2012, Manal al-Sharif was awarded the Havel Prize for Creative Dissent at the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway.

Saudi Feminism: Between Mama Amreeka and Baba Abdullah

This came shortly after al-Sharif was honored as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World at a Gala in New York City. Such events have given rise to a pattern: just as numerous pictures and videos of activists attending various conferences and receiving numerous awards surface, waves of criticism pour in. Their motives are viewed with suspicion, worthiness is questioned, and a movement’s progress is reassessed. The most prevalent criticism of Manal al-Sharif was that she was accepting an award for political dissent when she was only, at most, a social activist. This criticism was not meant to undermine her efforts but rather to allocate them a bit further down the activist totem pole, so to speak, in order to remove them from the high pedestal they had been placed on. Why Afghan Women Risk Death to Write Poetry. Women, democracy and dictatorship. The electoral success of Islamic parties in Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, has raised worries about policy and legislation on family and gender issues, this despite re-assuring noises from leading figures.

Women, democracy and dictatorship

Earlier electoral successes of Islamists in Iraq had brought about a disorderly mix of family policies and rule of disparate religious authorities, accompanied by much constraint and intimidation. This may be a good time to reflect on the record of various Middle Eastern countries on these issues over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first century and their relations to political regimes. The Uprisings Will be Gendered. Women's rights and the regulation of gender and sex norms in the Arab world have long been put under the spotlight by local and international activists in addition to local and international politicians and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). This year, the ongoing uprisings in the Arab world have brought into focus some dominant ways that sexual and bodily rights are framed, gendered, and politicized. These can be grouped under three loose themes, each of which deserves further study: One is the equation of gender with women and/or sexual and gender minorities.

Young Women Demanding Justice and Dignity: By All Means Necessary. Amina Filali was a young Moroccan girl who was raped at the age of 15 then forced to marry her rapist. She was battered, bruised, and starved until she committed suicide in March 2012. She was 16 years old. Women, democracy and dictatorship. Women: The Libyan Rebellion's Secret Weapon.

How Not to Study Gender in the Middle East. One: Gender is not the study of what is evident, it is an analysis of how what is evident came to be. Two: Before resolving to write about gender, sexuality, or any other practice or aspect of subjectivity in the Middle East, one must first define what exactly the object of study is. Be specific. What country, region, and time period forms the background picture of your study? Furthermore, the terms “Middle East,” “the Islamic World” and the “Arab world” do not refer to the same place, peoples, or histories, but the linkages between them are crucial. Moreover, the “state” is a relatively new phenomenon in the Middle East. Three: A study of gender must take into account sexuality.

Four: Gender is one aspect of individual and group subjectivity. Five: The ungendered body does not exist, just as the unclassed body does not exist. Six: Avoid tokenism and broad generalizations. Seven: Do not assume that gender politics or feminist concerns come in neat and familiar packages. Setbacks For Arab Women Have Outpaced Gains. A protest leader gives directions to fellow protesters as they march during a demonstration in Sanaa May 10, 2012. (photo by Reuters) Author: Barbara Slavin Posted May 15, 2012 Women have participated prominently in the popular protests that have swept the Arab world in the past 15 months, but are in danger of losing social, political and economic gains made under previous regimes. Summary⎙ Print Women are in danger of losing social, political and economic gains made under previous regimes in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, writes Barbara Slavin.

Culture versus Rights Dualism: a myth or a reality? Why Do They Hate Us? - By Mona Eltahawy. In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her. " Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer -- and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap.

Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. Yes: They hate us. But let's put aside what the United States does or doesn't do to women. Between You and Me. Hatred and misogyny in the Middle East, a response to Mona el Tahawy. Politics at the Tip of the Clitoris: Why, in Fact, Do They Hate Us? What baffles me most about Mona Eltahawy’s Foreign Policy article is that it does not accomplish the task it sets out for itself; it does not, in fact, answer its foundational question: Why do they hate us? Let's Talk About Sex. War of Position and War of Maneuver: Sexperts, Sex Pervs, and Sex Revolutionaries.