A hearty congratulations to South Africa’s Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka who has been appointed for a second term as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women (UN Women) for a period of four years.
In the pursuit of being ‘good sexual partners’ for men, many women abuse their vaginas. At best, the measures they resort to add little to their own personal pleasure; at worst, they place women in harm’s way, says Kagure Mugo.
March 8 is International Women’s Day, celebrated worldwide. This year, the day is commemorated under the theme #BeBoldForChange, and celebrates women for just who they are, their achievements and their contributions to the world, whether big or small. While we celebrate the contributions of women, there’s need to be cognisant that gender inequality still exists. In Africa, and across the world, statistics show that women’s access to education, health, and resources is still worse than that of men, and more needs to be done to change this dynamic. After the celebration, it should not be “business as usual”, there’s need to continue working for change to ensure gender equality.
The recent death of Manar Moussa, a 17-year-old Egyptian girl, who died in hospital from complications after a botched female genital mutilation (FGM) operation has continued to cause an outrage. There have been strong calls from rights groups for the government to take a tough stance on the illegal practice.
Virginity is essentially a social construct which defines sex in very narrow ways and in this way provides an avenue for the policing, demonization and shaming women’s bodies. The incredible, often ridiculous, worth attached to a woman’s virginity, as well as sexuality, has derailed the general progress of womanhood.
The African Union’s (AU) theme for 2016 is ‘Human rights, with a particular focus on the rights of women’. Halfway through the AU’s African women’s decade, the continent has yet to see the progress needed. The central question remains unchanged: what will the AU do to make good on its promises regarding women’s rights?
Uthukela District in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa has introduced “The Maidens Bursary,” offered to young girls seeking tertiary education on condition they remain virgins. To keep their scholarships, the girls will undergo a check-up every holiday, a condition which has ignited debate on women’s rights, religious and cultural freedom.
The recent arrest and trial of Reda el-Fouly, an Egyptian woman jointly charged with her partner for “disrupting morality” and “inciting debauchery” over a risqué music video filmed and posted online, has again raised questions over the protection of civil liberties, freedom of expression and artistic creativity in today’s climate of cultural and religious conservatism.