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The Countdown Has Begun (if it ever stopped)

The Countdown Has Begun (if it ever stopped)


In around 350 days’ time, the year 2015 will begin. But, erm, shouldn’t we rather still be remarking that we’ve just celebrated the start of 2014? The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have a …

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Dollars for Dishes, Chores for Change

Dollars for Dishes, Chores for Change


Should those (mostly women) who do not participate in the labor market, instead remaining at home to look after the house and raise children, receive compensation for their work? It’s a thorny issue which is as divisive as it is complex.
In the final referendum …

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Invisible or Forgotten? Women & Girls in Emergencies

Invisible or Forgotten? Women & Girls in Emergencies


Aid, donations and relief supplies are making their way to the parts of the Philippines most affected by the recent disaster. A conference held earlier this week in London and attended by high-level representatives of governments, U.N. agencies and NGOs, wasn’t directly focused on …

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Rights, research and responsiveness

Rights, research and responsiveness


You may have heard of the U.N., but have you ever heard of UNRISD? Perhaps not – as a research institute they aren’t going to grab as many headlines as the WHO, UNESCO or the Security …

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(You gotta) fight for your right

(You gotta) fight for your right


Crystal balls, horse-drawn carts, headscarves and tarot cards. If we were playing a word-association game, what group of people would spring to mind? If your brain is leaning toward ‘gypsy’ then you get a point. In Europe, gypsy is a common way of describing …

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Uniform: restriction and liberation

Uniform: restriction and liberation


Depending on how you are dressed, you can signal your status, identity, job and a myriad other markers which help locate you in a sociopolitical context.
They can show your distinctiveness, or membership within a group. Many jobs require a uniform, from the armed forces …

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Ciao, Bella: Death in Italian

Ciao, Bella: Death in Italian


When the moon hits your eye like’a big pizza pie…that’s amore. Substitute “moon” for “man” and “that’s amore” for a significant proportion of Italian women. Exact figures on domestic violence are unknown for obvious reasons, but the more troubling occurrence of women being murdered …

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Pride and Prejudice and Banknotes

Pride and Prejudice and Banknotes


Back in May I wrote about the derisively named “storm in a teacup” over the decision of the Bank of England to remove reformer Elizabeth Fry from the £5 note. Why …

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The shadows of the informal economy

The shadows of the informal economy


In which sector of the economy are women disproportionately (over)represented? And even though they are in the majority, still get paid less than their male counterparts? There may of course be more than one answer to these questions, however for the purposes of this …

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Til Death Us Do Part

Til Death Us Do Part


When you’re married to someone you (hopefully) love, they become the center of your universe. But what happens when they die? For many women the world over, becoming a widow means becoming a burden – and being tainted by stigma.
In 2011, the U.N. designated …

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The dark side of “paradise”

The dark side of “paradise”


The South Pacific: a region of inviting sandy beaches, turquoise waters – and unacceptable levels of violence against women. Life is especially difficult in Papua New Guinea, where an estimated 70% of women will …

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(Don’t) keep the change

(Don’t) keep the change


How often have you opened your wallet or purse, taken out any banknotes and then instead of spending them or paying them into your account, actually studied them? I too have not spent hours of my day examining the pieces of paper/cotton/

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Call Me, Maybe

Call Me, Maybe


When asked what items they never leave the house without, many people (in the West at least) would likely answer, “my mobile (cell) phone.” It would be pretty difficult for people in the U.K., for example, to adjust to a world where their handset …

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My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean

My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean


Here’s a little quiz to start you off with: In which profession do women make up less than 2% of the global workforce? I’ll give you a clue and exclude religious callings, firefighters and clowns from your choice of possible answers. (Hint: The title …

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Growing hope in India

Growing hope in India


News reporting on India, more specifically news regarding women in India, has recently been somewhat unsettling. Horrific cases of sexual abuse, some fatal, have made their way from the Indian media to a global stage. In terms of raising awareness, the impact has been …

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