Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Eclipsed by the Sword

Day 4 of the 16 Days Blogging Series:

Operation Zarb-e-Azb[1] cost Pakistan at least two billion dollars in its first month. This, according to one of Pakistan’s most astute military commentators who is a retired brigadier of the Pakistan army, Samson Simon Sharaf. The operation’s effectiveness is now being doubted by military strategists because terrorists seem to have found sanctuary in neighbouring Afghanistan well before the war in North Waziristan started.

The Military and Violence Against Women: The Aceh Experience, Part 2

Day 3 of the 16 Days Blogging Series:

In her second installment, Donna Swita Hardiani, from Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity) recalls her experiences in Aceh during the immediate years after the peace agreement, including the time she was interrogated by militiamen for women's rights work.

The Military and Violence Against Women: The Aceh Experience, Part 1

Day 2 of the 16 Days Blogging Series:

Aceh is Special Territory of Indonesia situated on the island of Sumatra. Between 1976 and 2005, an insurgency was waged in Aceh by the Free Aceh Movement (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka, or GAM), who wanted independence from the rule of the capital Jakarta, and from Indonesia. After the devastating tsunami in December 2004, GAM declared a unilateral cease-fire, and in 2005 a peace agreement was reached, granting Aceh special autonomy within Indonesia in return for GAM’s disarmament. Here Donna Swita Hardiani, from Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity) recalls her experiences in Aceh during the immediate years after the peace agreement.

WHRDs in Egypt: Between the Junta and the Islamists

Day 1 of the 16 Days Blogging Series:

I wake up every day to find the street displaying the polarization in the country. I see all the walls covered by pro Muslim Brotherhood words or by words inciting nationalism and supporting the army and President Sisi. I walk by the massive amount of military tanks and soldiers with heavy guns, covering their faces.

What the WELDD training meant to me

Being raised in a family that could be described as relatively “open minded” in a patriarchal society, I was able to see and feel the pain of many women around me who don’t have such a privilege as mine. On the other side I always felt responsible for opening their eyes to that reality. The chance to participate in the WELDD workshop wasn't merely a coincidence as it might seem. I've always known that I’ll find an entry into women’s activism; I just never imagined that it would be so magnificent!

Honour and Shame

Reading the stories of women’s rights activists across the world in the 16 Days blog series has been an empowering experience. The experiences of violence, extra-judicial punishments and honour-based abuse taking place in countries such as Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan are humbling and give us an extra appreciation of the relative security and peace we have here in the United Kingdom.

Iraqi women’s resilience: in search of a new story

Under the ruins which was a city

and the stones which were a home

with the burnt trunks which were trees

and the dried blood which was a person

look there

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