The New Head of UN Women Announced


source: the tigerbrands foundation

After a much anticipated wait, the new Executive Director of UN Women has been chosen. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of South African politician Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as the new head last Wednesday, succeeding former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet. Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s accomplishments are vast and remarkable; from 1984 to 1986 she was the Young Women’s Coordinator for the World Young Women’s Christian Association in Geneva and served as the first President of the Natal Organization of Women. She has gone on to have a fulfilling political career becoming a member of parliament in 1994 she has risen to be the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa from 2005 to 2008. This is only to name a few achievements, a further biography of Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka can be found at the UN Women website.

While we look forward to seeing what the UN Women new head’s ideas and actions, it comes as a surprise that no information was released about this particular candidate, both Global Memo and AWID raise valuable concerns regarding the importance of transparency in such elections.

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka discussions on her new role can be found at Al Jazeera website.

Follow Up on Women in Egypt: Journalist raped at protest

img: Reuters

source: Reuters

A Dutch woman has been raped at the recent protest to remove President Mohammed Morsi from power. The Age reports that Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment recorded 44 cases of sexual assaults and harassment against women on Sunday
night alone.

read more:

While Morsi has been overthrown and an interim president, Adli Mansour, has been sworn in, horrific levels of sexual violence against women in Tahrir Square sexual assalts on women and children in a public space with thousands of onlookers is a massive loss for the Women of Egypt.

UN Women tweeting

Lakshmi Puri, source: UN Women

Lakshmi Puri, source: UN Women

The 2013 annual session of the UN Executive Board was held on the 25th – 27th June. For those interested in learning more about how UN Women seeks to engage with women worldwide go to the UN Women recent twitter chat or read about the Annual session here.

Who will be the new Head of UN Women?

Rumoured Candidates

While it has not been confirmed how many candidates are in the running to be appointed the new Executive Director of UN Women, succeeding Michele Bachelet, there have been at least been four confirmed and a speculated additional three candidates since nominations closed last May.

Three of the four confirmed candidates, Rebeca Grynspan, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda and Kim Campbell shared their priorities and hopes if they are to be selected, which can be read on AWID website. The fourth candidate Patricia Francis (Jamaica) did not submit a response. AWID has expressed its concerned with the lack of transparency in the process and hopes that making information about the candidates available, feminist organizations and other interested parties are sufficiently informed.

Global Memo reports that Lakshmi Puri, acting head UN Women, Tarja Halonen, 11th President of Finland, and Radhika Coomaraswamy, Former Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, are also rumored to be under consideration.

Stand with Afghan Women Fighting for a better future

Layout 1Amnesty International is calling on Australians, the international community and the Afghan Government to fight for women in Afghanistan for a better future. Amnesty International reports that while there has been significant progress in women’s rights since 2001, this progress is now under threat. Deprivation of girls’ education, high rates of domestic violence and inequality of pay are just a few of the issues facing women in Afghan today. Amnesty International is looking for 20,000 signatures in Victoria and 60,000 nationally by mid July as part of its 2013 Afghan Women’s Rights Campaign.

If you want to take action please sign the petition on the Amnesty International Website here

When enough is beyond enough: Anger and frustration over sexual violence in India

image (1)A 30 year old American tourist has been gang-raped by a truck driver and two of his accomplices, on Monday night, after hitching a ride in the northern Indian state of Himachal Pradesh, police said. The incident follows the alleged rape of a 21-year-old Irish charity worker in Kolkata at the weekend and comes as the country attempts to tackle endemic sex crime with tougher anti-rape laws, reports AFP.

Last month protests were ignited in India after the death of a 5-year-old girl who was abducted and raped in late April and had been the latest distressing case in the expanding vicious sexual attacks being reported. This shocking story followed a similar abduction, rape and attempted murder of another 5-year-old in early April and is only four months on from the cruel gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old Dehli student, that fuelled an international outcry.

Whilst these high profile cases have created global speculation and outrage, reports of attacks on women and children in India are made daily. On April 26, the Times of India covered the following stories: an alleged rape by a Delhi cop, two separate cases of naked and mutilated female corpses being dumped in different parts of the city, and a husband who murdered his wife whom he suspected of infidelity.

Part of the anger is directed toward the government and consequently the nation’s declining conviction rate in rape cases, in 2011/12 there were 14,767 recorded female rapes but only 1,058 convictions. Whilst the India’s parliament has recently passed a sweeping new law to protect women against sexual violence, the UN News centre reports that the laws to prevent and prosecute rape and other sex crimes “do not go far enough”!

28th May: International Action Day for Women’s Health


May 28th marked the International Action Day for Women’s Health; Women’s Health Victoria released a media statement to call for access to affordable contraception for Australian women to prevent unintended pregnancies.

This is in line with the campaign launched by Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights. WGNRR in a recent post points to the negative repercussions regarding the confiscation of the contraception Depro Provera in Sri Lanka. Illegal smuggling of the drug has placed women in increased danger of health complications; due to the drug not being kept in proper conditions and being administered by unqualified doctors.

XXXVI Congress: London 9th – 13th September

scarf_large_blogA message from Lyda Verstegen, IAW President:

“IAW members are invited by All Pakistan Women’s Association – UK to attend the 2013. Congress which will be held at the Great Hall in the historic precinct of Lincoln’s Inn.


The IAW Board will meet on the 8th and 14th September.

It is a long time since the Alliance had its headquarters in London and many years since a Congress was held there so I hope that IAW Affiliate and Associate member organisations will be well represented and that many of our Individual Members will also be able to attend.”

Read more about the coming congress here

Local Events: Human Rights and Arts Film Festival

The sixth Human Rights and Arts Film Festival will open tomorrow at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne and run until 23rd May 2013. IAW Melbourne has found some must sees:


Words of Witness – During the Egyptian uprising, social media was the weapon of choice for a new generation. In Words of Witness, filmmaker Mai Iskander (Grabage Dreams, HRAFF 2010) follows Heba Afify, a budding online journalist reporting from the frontline of the revolution.


Taxi Sister and Red Wedding – Taxi Sister: There are 15,000 taxi drivers in Senegal; only 15 of them are women. Taxi Sister follows one of them, Red Wedding: In the remote place where 48-year-old Sochan Pen now grows rice, there was once a killing field. On the eve of her son’s wedding, Sochan breaks her silence about her own past when, at 16, she was forced to marry a soldier as part of the country’s genetic engineering.



and 30% (Women and Politics in Sierra Leone) as apart of the International Shorts

Be sure to check them out!!

In Focus: Nawal El Saadawi

Nawal El Saadawi. Photograph: Felix Clay

Nawal El Saadawi. Photograph: Felix Clay










As we take a look at women in Egypt, it would be a crime not to highlight the astonishing Nawal El Saadaw; a self-empowered leading Egyptian feminist, sociologist, medical doctor and militant writer on Arab women’s problems. She is one of the most widely translated contemporary Egyptian writers, with her work available in twelve languages.

Having endured her own personal wounds from the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) at the age of six, she has spent the past 60 years campaigning for an end to the barbaric convention. She has written 47 books tackling problems faced by women in Egypt, including Women and Sex in 1972, for which she lost her job as director of public health for the Egyptian Ministry of Health. She is founder and president of the Arab Women’s Solidarity Association and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights and at the age of 80 she was among the 50,000 protesters who took to Tahrir Square in the 2011 Egyptian revolution. Her strength and courage to continue in the front line on the war against oppression is remarkably inspirational.

Have a look at an Interview with Nawal El Saadawi and Riz Khan’s interview – Mother of the revolution.