Jordanian artist Laila Ajjawi has a message to convey in the mural she painted this week for the Women on Walls street art festival in Cario, Egypt. “Guys look at girls as objects. The media shows the girls as objects,” she states.
The festival aims to ignite conversations about women by inviting artists from all over the world to submit pieces in line with this year’s theme, “Stories from Fear to Freedom.” Public streets are often places where women fear speaking out against harassment, which is why it is especially empowering for women that the streets have been transformed into an exhibition space for their work.
Married at 14 to a man almost twice her age and then abandoned as a mother at 15, Sunita Choudhary is now an empowered women’s rights activist who may be the only woman in New Delhi that drives a three-wheeled taxi.
Driving a taxi is considered unsuitable for women in India, but after winning a 12-year legal battle against her husband who tried to kill her, Choudhary is not the type to back down. She is part of a citizens’ defense force that supports accident survivors, firefighting groups, and others in need on the road. As for marrying again, Choudhary, who has political ambitions says, “I love my work. I’ll marry that person who loves my work.”
Alicia Keys joined protestors outside of the Nigerian consulate in New York City on Tuesday, the six month anniversary of the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram militants.
"Today is my son’s birthday and it is also making me stand in solidarity with all the mothers of the Chibok girls who have been abducted for six months and are still missing," Keys told the Associated Press.
On this World Food Day, meet five women who have bolstered the well being of their families and communities by leveraging tools from the World Food Programme to become better farmers.
From top to bottom:
Chaltu Bultom Ede, Ethiopia, who now plans to send her children to university after increasing her farming productivity by acquiring a loan from a local cooperative to buy oxen and agricultural inputs.
Generoza Mukamazimpaka, Rwanda, who was able to reduce the time she spends preparing food by using waste from a cow she purchased to generate biogas (a renewable fuel source) for cooking.
Carmelina Oloroso, Guatemala, who opened a savings account to support her six children after she tripeled her yields of maize and beans by learning new agricultural techniques.
Koné Korotoumou,Mali, whose leadership of the Sabati women’s group brought them to open a bank account, pay for literacy classes and purchase land for a warehouse.
Esinta Jickson, Malawi, who serves as treasurer of the Chiwoza farmer’s cooperative, which marketed 50 metric tons of maize to the World Food Porgramme in 2013.
In Colombia, it is legal to have consensual sex with a 14-year-old but paying for sex with a minor is a crime. Under the guise of a bachelor party, an organization called Operation Underground Railroad entered the underground world of Colombia’s child sex trafficking trade to rescue girls as young as 12. Led by Tim Ballard, a former CIA agent and former U.S. Homeland Security investigator, the group put together a massive sting operation in cooperation with local authorities.
12-year-old Jennifer Yu is the first American girl in 27 years to win a title at the World Youth Chess Championship after going undefeated in 11 matches.
Susan Polgar, who was the first woman to earn a men’s grandmaster title, has been pushing for more females to succeed in chess. “We’re getting there, slowly but surely,” she stated after Yu won the title.
Afghanistan first lady Rula Ghani is unlike any of the first ladies who preceded her. She was the only candidate’s wife to appear in public during the election campaign and has so far maintained a visible profile. Ghani, a Lebanese-Christian who studied in Paris, says she is fully aware of the many challenges Afghan women face and encourages women to come out in the open to discuss them.
"The women of Afghanistan must have the courage to talk about it. They should raise their voice to say, they don’t like it and they won’t accept it," she said.
"I was one of the 17 million kids in this country who didn’t know where the next meal was coming from, and I did everything to get food," said actress Viola Davis at Variety’s Power of Women luncheon on Friday."I’ve stolen for food, I’ve jumped in huge garbage bins with maggots for food."
The Oscar-nominated star delivered an emotional speech about her difficult childhood and called for more to be done to combat poverty in America. Davis was honored for her work with the charity Hunger Is, which benefits programs to eradicate childhood hunger and improve health-related outcomes.
The kidnapping of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria shocked the world and spurred a global movement to #BringBackOurGirls, but six months have passed and the majority of the girls are still missing.
Nigerians demonstrated in front of President Goodluck Jonathan’s home on Tuesday, urging the government to do more to free the girls. Among them was Rebecca Ishaku, who managed to escape from the clutches of Boko Haram militants. “I want the president to try and bring back my friends,” she said. “I can’t even imagine what’s happening to them.”
Why Sexual Assault Victims Stay Quiet, a comic by Jim C. Hines, shows the unfair double standards surviors of sexual assault often face. Staying silent means the issue won’t be addressed, but speaking up risks blame and skepticism.
A growing number of female drivers have defied cultural norms and taken to the streets of Afghanistan, but their bravery has been met with opposition.
17-year-old Zainab Zawol Shahidy was driving home from school when she was pulled over by gun-toting men who threatened to kidnap her. Despite the risk and danger, Shahidy says she loves to drive and will continue to do so. She has the support of her older brother Ali, who rides as a passenger when he is with her. “I want both men and women to see us together and to see her driving. The more people who see women driving on streets, the more common it becomes,” he said.
Female astronauts used to be dismissed by NASA and the military as distractions even though they had passed the same grueling tests as male astronauts. Nevertheless, intelligent and brave women persevered. Eileen Collins became the first female pilot of a space shuttle, Mae Jemison the first female astronaut of color and Peggy Whitson the first female commander of the International Space Station. Watch their stories on Women in Space, tonight on PBS at 9/8c and tomorrow at 8 pm ET on makers.com.
Seventh-grader, McKenna Peterson’s letter to Dick’s Sporting Goods decrying the lack of female athletes in their recent basketball catalog went viral forcing the business to issue an apology.
An avid sports fan and basketball player, McKenna pointed out the importance of including photos of girls in the catalog. “It’s hard enough for girls to break through in this sport as it is, without you guys excluding us from your catalog. Girls buy stuff from your store,” she wrote.
Ed Stack, CEO of the sports retailer, vows to feature female basketball players in their catalog.