76 secularists and human rights campaigners, including Mina Ahadi, Nawal El Sadaawi, Marieme Helie Lucas, Hameeda Hussein, Ayesha Imam, Maryam Jamil, Maryam Namazie, Taslima Nasrin, Farida Shaheed, Fatou Sow, and Stasa Zajovic have signed on to a Manifesto for a Free and Secular Middle East and North Africa.

We live in historic times. People in the Arab world are rising up against political dictatorship and corruption; they demand reforms and are organizing for freedom, human dignity and social justice. Women have been shouldering the responsibilities in all uprisings and their movement is an integral part of the democratic forces for social and economic justice. But they are systematically excluded from the decision making processes that shape the future of their countries. What democracies are then being prepared and negotiated?

The role of women in the new Tunisia has been a controversial issue throughout the transitional period, with some fearful that they would lose precious rights from the previous era, and others arguing for a return to traditional values.


Early on in the democratic transition, an ambitious gender parity law was introduced to ensure women would have a voice in the constituent assembly.

Fifty years ago, the Parisian police brutally suppressed a demonstration of 30,000 Algerian workers protesting against a discriminatory and racist curfew banning them from the capital’s streets at night. The march was peaceful, but by the end of the night over 200 Algerians were dead and 11,000 had been arrested and detained in horrific circumstances by French police units.

The date, barely known outside France, is undoubtedly one of the city’s darkest episodes, and survivors of the repression and relatives of those killed are still seeking the truth about what happened that night, and full recognition of the role the authorities played on October 17, 1961.

LONDON — The Nobel Peace Prize for 2011 was awarded on Friday to three campaigning women from Africa and the Arab world in acknowledgment of their nonviolent role in promoting peace, democracy and gender equality. The winners were Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa’s first elected female president — her compatriot, peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman of Yemen, a civil society campaigner.

Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel peace prize, died on Sunday night of cancer. She was 71.

ALLANKULAM, 8 September 2011 (IRIN) - More policies and programmes must address the needs of female-headed households in Sri Lanka's former conflict zone, experts say. 

"Most programmes don't take into account the unique role of women here," Saroja Sivachandran, director of the Center for Women and Development (CWD), an advocacy body based in northern Jaffna, told IRIN. 

"They may be providing for the families, but [women] still have to cook, look after children and do all household chores." 

تمضي حنان أيامها في تصفيف شعر زبوناتها من النساء اللواتي يزرن صالون الحلاقة المتواضع الذي تديره. ويحتل الصالون غرفة في منزل حنان الواقع في شارع حيفا في بغداد.

يضجّ المنزل بالحياة، وتدل جدرانه المتسخة على ضعف حال صاحبته. تعمل حنان وتعيش في هذا المنزل منذ عشر سنوات مع أولادها الثلاثة.

حنان امرأة ذات شخصية قوية تنعكس في صوتها الواثق والعميق. فقدت ثمانية أفراد من عائلتها في الحرب وفقدت زوجها أيضا وبقيت قوية.

مع ذلك، استسلمت لحاجتها الى ما تسميه الرجل – الملجأ، وتزوجت من رجل متزوج.

بحسب الأصول ، وبعد قصة حب " صغيرة " بينهما ، تقدم الطفل " خالد جمعة " البالغ من العمر خمس سنوات لخطبة الطفلة " هلا العمار " البالغة من العمر ثلاث سنوات ، في حمص ، ليصبحا أصغر عروسين في سوريا . وفي حفلة صغيرة أُشهرا خطيبين ، ألبسها المحبس ، وفعلت هي ، لتتوج " قصة حب " بخطبة رسمية .

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