Women's Rights

ISIS Says the Quran Allows Enslaving Women. Will Clerical Leaders Respond?

Islamic State’s audacity and effrontery toward women knows no bounds. In an article that appeared Sunday in Dabiq, the group’s English-language online publication, Islamic State militants crossed a last possible boundary of decency by citing the Quran as authority for the barbarism they have been practicing against women. Equally disturbing, Arab leaders and the ulama, the clerical leaders of Islam, have been silent in the face of this effrontery.

Sexual Violence Under ISIS Control

The news is full of beheadings, but ISIS fighters are now infamous for a campaign of sexual violence. This interview with Haleh Esfandiari on NPR's On Point with Tom Ashbrook looks at the Islamic State’s war on women.

Ironies in Obama’s U.N. Address

In his United Nations address, President Barack Obama had a tough-love message for the Islamic world: Grow up. Share power. And deliver the goods to your people so they won’t be attracted to extremism.

The United States is leading the military campaign to confront a new tide of extremism, but the president laid the onus of ending a global threat on the regimes in the Islamic world, especially the Middle East. Left unsaid was the ironic fact that several of those autocratic countries are participating in the new coalition against the Islamic State.

ISIS’s Cruelty Toward Women Gets Scant Attention

Tucked away in a recent New York Times story on military operations against ISIS by Iraqi special forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga was a brief description of what these troops discovered when they entered a village in Iraq that had been occupied by ISIS fighters. A naked woman, tied to a tree, who had been repeatedly raped by ISIS fighters. Another woman was discovered in a second village, similarly naked, tied down and repeatedly raped. The fighters, it appears, are “rewarded” by being allowed to have their way with captured women.

Women’s Access to Power and Decision-Making in Africa: Addressing Obstacles and Offering Solutions

There is widespread agreement that equal access to power and decision-making for men and women is fundamental to representative and responsive governance. This has been highlighted in governance and development discourses against a background of women’s unequal and limited access to public office. Women’s substantive representation in political positions is crucial to closing the gender gap in decision-making structures.

What Next for US-Africa Engagement?

From August 4-6, 2014, the Obama Administration hosted the first ever US-Africa Leaders Summit that took place in Washington, DC. Over 50 African Heads of State attended with a goal of strengthening US-Africa engagement. The Africa Program and its colleagues provided daily coverage of the event from a variety of perspectives, delving into what the summit means for US-Africa relations going forward. Check out the links below for more:

Why Do Women Turn into Suicide Bombers?

Recently, a young Nigerian girl—just 15 years old—approached a group of police officers and blew herself up. The attack failed; she claimed no lives but her own.

Underage: Addressing Reproductive Health and HIV in Married Adolescents

In July, thousands of people attended the 20th International AIDS Conference and the 2014 Girls Summit to work towards an AIDS-free generation and ending child and forced marriage. But such attention is rare; by and large, these girls are invisible to development efforts.

Beyond Gender Quotas in African Politics: How to Deliver on Women's Issues in Africa

Beyond Gender Quotas in African Politics: How to Deliver on Women’s Issues in Africa

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