Author Archive
Women’s Rights Key To Effective Global AIDS Response

Women’s Rights Key To Effective Global AIDS Response

A new report by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, an independent body of former world leaders and top legal, human rights and HIV experts, released on the eve of the London Summit, has labeled the global response to the AIDS epidemic as “stifled.” The ground-breaking account, “HIV and the Law: Risks, Rights...

Egypt’s Veiled First Lady: Clues To Where Women Fit Into New Egypt?

Everybody wants to know where women fit into the new Egypt. After an electrifying revolution, leading to the end of President Hosni Mubarak‘s three decade long dictatorship, the “women question” awaited the country’s first democratically elected leadership. The world watched as Egyptian women, young and old, Christian and Muslim, fought alongside their brothers, slept next to them...

The Best Place To Be a Woman: A Conversation With Monique Villa

Canada is the best place to be a woman, and India is the worst according to a new poll by Thomson Reuters Foundation. The legal news service launched a global poll of experts this week ranking countries for women in the G20, putting the US, which “polarised opinion due to issues surrounding reproductive rights and affordable healthcare,” in sixth place. Access to healthcare...

1971 Rapes: Bangladesh Cannot Hide History

The post- Liberation War generation of Bangladesh know stories from 1971 all too well. Our families are framed and bound by the history of this war. What Bangladeshi family has not been touched by the passion, famine, murders and blood that gave birth to a new nation as it seceded from Pakistan? Bangladesh was one...
Mother’s Day: A Matter of Life & Death

Mother’s Day: A Matter of Life & Death

As a Bangladeshi woman, I could not have felt more fortunate when I decided to give birth in America. It was a natural choice for my American husband and I. After almost a decade working to ensure US foreign policy protects women’s reproductive health and rights, I was well-aware that every year, approximately 529,000 women and girls...
What Does Seven Billion Mean for Women?

What Does Seven Billion Mean for Women?

The UN has projected that the world’s population will reach 7 billion today, a scary milestone amidst increasing global political and economic instability. More people will only place increased pressure on our environment, on the world’s habitats, forests, and resources such as water. But how does investing in women’s rights tie into slowing the world’s...
A Beating for a Phone: Women Struggle to Access Mobile Technology

A Beating for a Phone: Women Struggle to Access Mobile Technology

People are always shocked to learn how widespread and easily available mobile technology is in “developing nations” like Bangladesh, Kenya, and Afghanistan. When my husband visited my city of birth, Dhaka, last year he could not believe how many people had cell phones in a country where more than half of the population cannot access...
US Assistance to Global Health Programs: The Battle Continues

US Assistance to Global Health Programs: The Battle Continues

The recent hostile budget process targeted women’s health programs globally as much as it did domestically. International family planning was targeted for a 40% cut and UNFPA funding eliminated in the House majority proposals alongside a total elimination of Title X and Planned Parenthood funding. The final amount approved for FY 2011 by Congress for...
Virginity Tests: Time to Let Gender Out of Revolution's Closet

Virginity Tests: Time to Let Gender Out of Revolution’s Closet

There is no doubt that the recent revolution in Egypt got the wheels of the Arab Spring rolling. But just as quickly as women flooded the corners of Tahrir Square and the streets of Cairo in the hopes of a democratic Egypt, their voices were sidelined. This is not uncommon. Even in conservative countries, we...
Starting the Engine: Saudi Women Drive for Their Rights

Starting the Engine: Saudi Women Drive for Their Rights

The spirit of the Arab Spring broke the steel gates of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today as one by one Saudi women started their engines, defying the country’s notorious ban on women driving, the only place  in the world where women are not permitted to drive. Today’s protest is the culmination of an online...