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Nimmi Gowrinathan

Reports that women have formed their own brigade within the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) have confounded experts -- and worried them. For many, the idea of women as violent extremists seems paradoxical. Why should women want to join a political struggle that so blatantly oppresses them?

Letter From,
Aeyliya Husain

Wardah Nur never imagined that she would become a soldier. And, until ten years ago, she couldn’t have. Nur belongs to a small, elite group -- the 2013 “lady cadets,” as they are called -- the latest batch of women to train at the Pakistan Military Academy since it began accepting them in 2006 during General Pervez Musharraf’s presidency.

Emily Dyer and Louise Millet

Some supporters of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had hoped that he would dial back attacks on women's rights. Just a year into his time in office, though, he has left those backers disappointed. In some cases, his government is just as bad as his predecessor’s.

Ira Trivedi

There is no doubt that the economic development that Modi promises is important. But there is also no doubt that social development -- more equality for religious groups, more gender parity, and more economic fairness -- is the best way to ensure the country's success in the long term. It seems unlikely that a politician who stands for the empowerment of one group over others can give India what it really needs.

Letter From,
Devin Stewart

For the past two decades, Tokyo has been described as stagnant, glacial, and arthritic. But that is only part of the story. Outside the government, a new generation of liberal reformers is bringing about real change.

Essay, May/June 2014
Swanee Hunt

It would be obscene to say that the genocide in Rwanda had even the thinnest silver lining. But it did create a natural -- or unnatural -- experiment, as the country’s social, economic, and political institutions were wiped out. In important respects, the reconstructed Rwanda is a dramatically different country, especially for women.

Isobel Coleman

In the run up to this spring's parliamentary elections, Iraqis are debating a new personal status law. Supporters claim that the law will give Shia more freedom to practice their religion. Opponents argue that it would promote sectarianism and seriously undermine the rights of women and children by permitting unfettered polygamy, a Taliban-like restriction on women’s movement, child marriage for girls as young as nine, unequal divorce and custody, and an end to interreligious marriage.

Comment, Mar/Apr 2014
Ira Trivedi

Last December, India's Supreme Court re-established a colonial era law prohibiting homosexual relations. That will mix poorly with an Indian society that has a long tradition of tolerance for sexual minorities.

Nina Easton

Saudi Arabia remains the only country on earth to prevent women from driving, but driving is not the only way to measure women's progress. In fact, they have made great strides in government, the work force, and education.

Emily Dyer

The 2011 revolution may have toppled President Hosni Mubarak, but it did not liberate Egyptian women. Sexual harassment and assault have worsened since his departure, reflecting both long-term trends in government policy and more recent shifts during Egypt’s seesawing transition.

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