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This Week in Women’s Rights 2017–09–17


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2017/09/17

“Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s most repressive countries for women, where a man’s consent is obligatory for women to access human rights, and feminist activists risk arrest. Some changes are creeping in: King Salman has loosened the grip of male guardianship, and is encouraging women to work. But they are still not allowed to drive.

There are, however, women who refuse to be still. Twenty-five-year-old Baraah Luhaid has always loved cycling. But although women’s cycling was legalised in 2013, it is only allowed in parks or on beaches, and only with a male guardian present. Luhaid is striving to get women — and the fight for women’s rights — moving. She founded Saudi Arabia’s first gender-inclusive cycling community and business, Spokes Hub, last year, and now runs the kingdom’s only cycling shop, with a cafe and workshops, for women.

As a Saudi woman peddling counterculture, Luhaid has long known that she would have to embrace the spirit of “I’ll do it myself”. After graduation, she longed to work in a bike shop — but no one would hire a woman. So last year, she went on a cycling trip to China with her brother. She returned to Riyadh determined to ride freely, but met with roadblocks. For one, her abaya — a traditional long, black robe — kept getting caught in the chains of her bike.”


“TUNIS, Tunisia — Some denounce it as a violation of Islamic law, others embrace it as revolutionary: An initiative by Tunisia’s president to make inheritance and marriage rules fairer to women is reverberating around the Muslim world, and risks dividing his country.

The 90-year-old president, Beji Caid Essebsi, argues that Tunisia needs to fight discrimination and modernize. He’s gambling that he could shepherd through such changes because his secular party is in a coalition with an Islamist one, and because his overwhelmingly Muslim country has a history of relatively progressive views toward women.

In a speech last month, Essebsi proposed allowing women the same inheritance rights as men, instead of the current system based on Islamic Shariah law that generally grants daughters only half the inheritance given to sons.”


“Women’s rights are under a dual attack: both the ‘neoliberal neopatriarchy’ and the reactionary anti-gender movements threaten to reverse hard-won gains in rights and equality. Krisztian Simon spoke with historian and Professor at Budapest’s CEU Andrea Pető about illiberal governments, the struggles of women’s rights organisations, state-supported sugar daddy sites, and the challenges posed by labour market changes and robotisation.

Krisztian Simon: Has the rise of the Far-Right led to a strengthening of anti-women politics in Europe?

Andrea Pető: Yes, such a trend is clearly recognisable, but to fully grasp it, one needs to understand the broad frame in which this process is happening. Based on the responses that were given to the 2008 triple (financial, security, and migrant) crisis, we can see that human rights values and the neoliberal market system are not inseparable. By now, there already exists a kind of market that works in an effective way, and secures the wellbeing of some chosen groups, while at the same time rejecting the human rights discourse; it doesn’t need rights bearing entities, as it sees them as being expensive and hindering the process of production. Therefore, many governments have decided to create a state that points out the failures of the preceding system, while providing a real and acceptable alternative to many, but not to all. This new system is called the illiberal state, which redefines the different societal values and roles.”


“HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): Most of $101 million aid provided for capacity-building programmes for women in western Herat province has allegedly been embezzled, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt.

Some local officials and Provincial Council (PC) members confirmed the embezzlement of aid money. They said some civil society organisations working for women’s rights won projects worth millions of dollars but failed improve women’s situation.

A report from the Economy Department shows $101 million was provided to Herat by foreign countries and organisations for the capacity development of women from 2014- March to 2017. But no constructive work has been done to address women’s problems or facilitate them in a tangible manner.”


“MALAYSIANS KINI | Rasammah Bhupalan, who turned 90 in May this year, keeps a neat house with plenty of natural light, an amazing view of the Istana Negara from the living room windows and framed photographs of her family everywhere you look.

Her family has clearly been a huge influence in her life, in which she has been a freedom fighter, social rights activist and dedicated teacher.

At 16, Rasammah joined the Rani of Jhansi Regiment, the women’s wing of the Indian National Army (INA) after attending a rally in her hometown of Ipoh to hear INA leader Subhas Chandra Bose’s speech.”


“The government is taking appropriate measures with regard to protection and promotion of Women Rights in Pakistan.

According to the spokesperson of Human Rights Ministry, the Criminal Law’ has been passed by the joint session of the parliament which includes offences relating to rape and honour killing.

He said that the government has also initiated the Action Plan for Human Rights which provides for specific intervention in order to ensure protection of Women’s Rights.

He said a national Commission for Human Rights has also been established with a broad mandate and powers to take suo-moto actions against violations and a toll free helpline 1099 was also established for legal advice on Human Rights violation with special focus on women related issues.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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