Since the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, ala kachuu, or bride kidnapping, has become a common occurrence in Kyrgyzstan's provincial towns and villages. Although registered as a crime under Kyrgyzstan's criminal code, the government has consistently lacked the political will power to punish perpetrators, many of whom - mainly rural men - have come to regard the act as a ‘tradition' and a birth-rite. In recent months, civil society organizations and creative troupes have been harnessing the power of performance to try and educate the population and clamp down on the practice.
"Every 90 seconds a mother dies due to pregnancy related complications." reads the description for a new video from the Half the Sky Movement, an effort tied to the book by Nick Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The sobering video looks at the reality of maternal mortality around the world. In Africa, a narrator says, women often die of preventable causes -- anemia, fistula, and the like. And there aren't nearly enough medically trained midwives in many of these countries. You can donate to the cause at www.crowdrise.com/halfthesky.
An article published in pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat on May 2, claiming that 90% of Yemeni women have been subject to sexual harassment, has caused a stir online. While many Twitter users admitted that there was a problem with harassment in Yemen, the percentage quoted in the newspaper divided them. Rather than addressing the issue and providing solutions, a lot of time and effort was wasted debating and dismissing the figure. But whether we like to admit it or not harassment in all its forms - stares, words or actions - is widespread.