women's rights

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.

Activists march from Paris to Brussels to highlight mass rape in DR Congo

Over 300 km in a little under 14 days, covered entirely on foot. That’s the gruelling challenge a group of Congolese activists set for themselves when they decided to march from Paris to Brussels to draw attention to the plight of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Read more...

For better, for worse: Malaysian wives taught to be ‘obedient prostitutes’

According to a newly created club in Malaysia, the secret to a successful marriage is simple: an obedient wife who makes sure her husband is sexually satisfied. Launched on June 4 in Kuala Lumpur, the 1000-member strong ‘Obedient Wives Club’ (OWC) has sparked controversy in one of the most modern and progressive Muslim-majority countries. Read more….

Feminist voices join the 'macho' Spanish revolution

When feminist activists joined the massive anti-government protest camp in central Madrid last week, they were met with a mixed response from other participants. Is Spain’s progressive ‘revolution’ actually a macho movement? Read more…