Friday Links | March 22, 2013

This week marks the ten-year anniversary of the Iraq war, and when it comes to the position of women in present-day Iraqi society articles are unanimously negative and speak of rampant violence against women, limited freedom for contemporary Iraqi women and the ongoing fight for gender equality. CNN also follows up with “miracle baby Noor,” years after she received medical treatment in the USA. The Guardian speaks to women who have been incarcerated in Iraq and who speak of sexual assault and psychological and physical abuse, which make women behind bars in Iraq particularly vulnerable. The use of chemicals during the war has been cited as the main reason for the 60% rise in birth defects in the Iraqi city of Basra.

The ban on hijab in schools in Stavropol, Russia, does not only affect the hijab-wearing girls and their families; some are of the opinion that local authorities are trying to create problems between the different ethnicities in the region.

Young, male Rohingya refugees in Malaysia are, in general, unable to find themselves a Malaysian bride, so their (only) option is to import brides from back home, which is not without risk for the girls/women involved.

Abdiaziz Abdinur, the Somali journalist, who interviewed rape survivor Lul Osman, has been freed from prison by order of a Somali court.

An Iranian woman jumps over a bonfire to celebrate Nowruz, Persian new year. Image by AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRIBEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images

Malian Nema Segara is one of Africa’s most senior female soldiers; she now plays an important role in the fight against the Islamists in the north of Mali.

A petition with 3,000 signatures urges the Saudi Shura council to debate allowing women to drive.

A relatively low percentage of Morocco’s population is infected with HIV/AIDS, but as most of them do not know that they are infected, a campaign to provide AIDS tests in local clinics has been set up; the tests are particularly popular among women.

The BBC speaks to Maria Toorpakai, the Pakistani squash star from conservative Waziristan, where she had to come up with some inventive ideas in order to keep competing in sports.

A new initiative in Egypt to fight sexual harassment was launched on Facebook last week: a page where harassers can be named and shamed.

In Yemen’s conservative society. falling in love, before marriage that is, is a complicated matter.

Kosovo is a predominantly Muslim society, but religious symbols, such as the headscarf, are still banned in some schools; last January Njomeza Jashari was banned from entering her secondary school, because of her headscarf.

According to a Turkish TV program coordinator, popular Turkish TV series (and their “liberated” female leads) help to inspire “opressed” neighbouring societies.

The UN blames the rise of violence against Afghanistan’s women on culture, and not religion. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said last Tuesday that the UN is disturbed by the impunity of violence against women in Afghanistan.

Female participation in the labour force in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region still hovers around 25% (compared with 50% globally), despite significant gains in education and health, the World Bank reports.

Last week Malala Yousafzai attended her first day at a secondary school in Birmingham, UK.

Last week, Libyan women staged a protest against the violence, rape and violations of women’s rights in the country.

FRANCE 24 meets with Mariam, the abandoned wife of a Malian rebel leader.

A change to a law in Kazakhstan will result in pay cuts for women on maternity leave; activists are taking action.

Adile Samur, a Kurdish mother residing in Istanbul, hopes that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK will bring her seven children, all PKK members, back home.

Last year, the Maldives passed a Domestic Violence Act, but according to a local NGO not much has been done to curb the abuse since.

Many Pakistani women activists see the internet as a way to further their work, but online harassment and hostility targeted at (Pakistani) women remains an issue.

A short documentary featured by Al Jazeera focuses on a  group of Turkish and Kurdish women, who cross the divide by collaborating in theatre.

The number of female scientists in Muslim countries is above average, but their influence, both in their societies and in the scientific community is below par.

In the first two months of 2013, domestic violence has killed at least 26 women and 3 children in Turkey.

At least 10 Palestinian women have become pregnant by smuggled sperm from their incarcerated husbands.

Nabila Sharma, a Muslim woman from the British Midlands, speaks of the sexual abuse she experienced as a child by the hands of an Imam.

The leader of Kazakhstan’s Muslim Party suggests that the daughters of the country’s political leaders should be auctioned off, to save the country from the very dominant son-in-laws that now, allegedly, run the country.


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