Since 2004 the Afghan Constitution has provided women with equal protection before the law. However, many discriminatory practices are disguised as 'Islamic' and, therefore, lawful. These include husbands deciding whether their wives should work, and a father having the right to prohibit his daughters from attending school or forcing them into marriage, all of them based on conservative interpretations of the Quran.
The document that defined more than half a century ago what a human being is, retains today its power as an advocacy tool for women's liberation while, some argue, falling short in the defense of women's rights via omission of the most flagrant forms of gender-based discrimination and by not referring to women in other terms than 'motherhood'.
The United NationsFourth World Conference on Women
Convened in 1995 in Beijing, following the previous ones that took place in Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980 and Nairobi in 1985, the Conference coalesced preparations by delegates into the formulation of aPlatform for Action that sought to draw a strategic blueprint to achieve greater equality and opportunity for women.
In this issue, we welcome the launch of the programme “Women reclaiming and re-defining cultures: Asserting rights over body, self, and public spaces”, a joint venture between WLUML and the Institute of Women’s Empowerment (IWE), which brings together women from the Muslim world to examine and discuss how systems of culture, tradition and religion, are used as instruments to legitimize their oppression.
Women worldwide continue to be subjected to terrible violence in the private and public sphere, and our networkers in Senegal alert us to a grave situation where perpetrators of violence against women in that country believe that they can continue to offend without facing prosecution.
In addition to the work of multi-national institutions, the theory is that national gender machinery can play an important role in the struggle to protect and promote women’s rights. Catherine Albertyn argues that national machinery for the advancement of women “… consists of structures, mechanisms, and strategies for achieving equality for women as participants, decision makers and beneficiaries in the political, social, economic and cultural spheres of life.”
Urgent Action Fund for Women's Human Rights (UAF) is a global women’s fund that exists to protect, strengthen and sustain women human rights defenders at critical moments in time. By intervening quickly when defenders are poised to make great gains or face serious threats to their lives and work, UAF provides an efficient and effective model of strategic philanthropy.Designed and led by women activists, UAF’s core programs – Rapid Response Grantmaking and Research, Publications & Advocacy – strengthen and inform one another.
In this edition, we welcome new staff members at the International Coordination Office, cover new developments in the Global Campaign Stop Killing and Stoning Women!, and catch up with some of our networkers from around the world. A special section highlights the political aspects of women and sport in Muslim contexts.
This third and completely revised version of the "Knowing Our Rights" handbook is an essential resource for those taking a critical and questioning approach to rights, laws, and constructions of womanhood in Muslim countries and communities and beyond. "Knowing Our Rights" forms part of the international synthesis of the Women & Law in the Muslim world Programme and is based on some 10 years of field experience, research and analysis by multi-disciplinary teams of networkers in over 20 countries across Asia, Africa and the Middle East.