women's rights

Acid attacks in Iran: ‘My sister won’t go outside anymore’

There have been at least four cases of acid attacks on women in the last two weeks in Isfahan, in central Iran. A rumour quickly spread throughout the city according to which the women were attacked because they weren’t covered up enough. This prompted several thousand residents to take to the streets in protest, and call on the authorities to act. Read more...

Doubts surround ISIS 'FGM edict’

Strong doubts have emerged as to the authenticity of an edict supposedly made by the jihadist group ISIS, ordering all women in Iraq’s region of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM). Read more...


Banned from sports stadiums, Iranian women get creative

Though most of the world is fixated on football right now, in Iran, people are more focused on volleyball. The Iranian national team, which has been playing very well, is drawing crowds in Tehran. The public is made up entirely of men, since the religious police forbid Iranian women from entering the stadiums. Some of them, however, have found created ways to get in. Read more...

Hoda and Arafet, the love story that has captivated Yemen

Hoda al-Nirane, a 22-year old Saudi woman, is being held in a detention centre in Sanaa and risks deportation. Her crime is to have fled from Saudi Arabia to Yemen to escape a forced marriage and marry her beloved, a Yemeni national. This improbable love story has created an unprecedented solidarity movement in this otherwise conservative country. Read more...

Afghan female rapper: “I’ve received threats, but won’t stop”

“I wanted to run and they hit me on the back; I wanted to think and they hit me on the head; they burned my face in the name of Islam, cut my nose for revenge; poured acid on my hands and body; sold me because I am only a woman” -- these are the daring lyrics of a song by rap duo 143, whose singer Paradise Sorouri was the first female Afghan rapper. Read more…


Video: Saudi woman lashes out at religious police

“Don’t provoke me!” This video filmed by a shopper in a Riyadh store shows a Saudi woman giving an officer from the religious police a piece of her mind. He had apparently asked her to cover up her entire face, even though she was already wearing a traditional niqab, with only her eyes and the top of her nose visible. Read more...

Are women’s rights in Tunisia under threat?

Considered one of the most progressive countries in the Arab world when it comes to women’s rights, Tunisia feted its National Women’s Day on Monday, August 13. This year’s celebrations, however, were marred by a proposed constitutional article, which would define a woman as “complementary” to a man rather than his equal. Read our Observers' reactions…

Execution video highlights violence against women in rural Afghanistan

A recent video of a Taliban fighter executing a woman in a small town in Afghanistan’s Parwan Province last month has sparked outrage, but our Observer on the ground says the footage finally sheds light on the kind of violence women in the country’s rural areas often face. Read more…

Yemeni women burn veils in act of defiance

Yemeni women are playing an increasingly important role in protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. In one of their most striking acts of defiance yet, a group of women burned their traditional black veils to denounce the regime’s brutal clampdown on recent anti-government demonstrations, in which at least three women were killed. Our Observer in Sanaa explains why she decided to burn her veil.