International Women's Health + Human Rights

We are a global community dedicated to education and collaborative action on issues of International Women's Health & Human Rights. This is the Tumblr page for the massive open online course (MOOC), featuring Anne Firth Murray, the founding president of the Global Fund for Women and an educator at Stanford University. Visit for more information.

Privacy is a privilege. It is rarely enjoyed by women or transgender men and women, queer people or people of color. When you are an Other, you are always in danger of having your body or some other intimate part of yourself exposed in one way or another. A stranger reaches out and touches a pregnant woman’s belly. A man walking down the street offers an opinion on a woman’s appearance or implores her to smile. A group of teenagers driving by as a person of color walks on a sidewalk shout racial slurs, interrupting their quiet.

For most people, privacy is little more than an illusion, one we create so we can feel less vulnerable as we move through the world, so we can believe some parts of ourselves are sacred and free from uninvited scrutiny. The further away you are from living as a white, heterosexual, middle-class man, the less privacy you enjoy – the more likely your illusions of privacy will be shattered when you least expect it.


Maryam Ashrafi is an Iranian living in exile in Paris. She left behind a country rife with human rights and ethnic struggles to journey to different parts of the world and photograph the stories of people living in crises.

Read Global Voices interview with Ashrafi about her photojournalism, with a selection of 13 photos she chose to share as she explained her work.

13 Photos by an Exiled Iranian Photojournalist of People Caught in Conflict in the Middle East


In Haiti, An ‘American Idol’-Style Contest About Child Slavery

Haiti’s got talent.

Tamarre Joseph paces the stage, her sleek, short blue dress hugging her pencil-thin frame. She works the hometown crowd, rapping "Nap rive peyi san restavek."

The thousands in the packed stadium jump and sing along. An entire section of men take off their shirts and wave them overhead.

A rain cloud hangs ominously over the national soccer stadium in downtown Port-au-Prince, blocking the view of the mountains beyond. At one end of the stadium sits a stage with the words “Chante Pou Libete” above their English translation: “Songs for Freedom.”

"Nap rive peyi san restavek."

We will be a country without restaveks.

This concert, free to the public, was billed as a way to speak about the unspoken: Haiti’s deplorably large population of restaveks — child slaves.

It’s certainly unusual to have an American Idol-style competition for songs about slavery. And it’s definitely ironic that this event is taking place in the home of the world’s only successful slave revolt.

The 2013 Global Slavery Index ranks Haiti second in the world for modern slavery, with an estimated 200,000 to 220,000 slaves. Only Mauritania is worse. While that number includes adults, the vast majority are minors. Restavek roughly translates to “stay with” in Creole (“avec” is French for with). Often, families from the countryside send young children to live with wealthier families in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. In exchange for a promised better life and education, the child will contribute to household chores like cooking, washing clothes and fetching water.

In thousands of cases, children are forced into servitude: They take on most, if not all, of the household work, they’re beaten and sexually assaulted, they never get the education they hoped to earn.

Continue reading.

Photo :Frantzita Dede, who’s 19, sings “Let’s Help Them” — the child slaves of Haiti.


With her new company, Eleni Gabre-Madhin aims to take the commodity exchange momentum that started with the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange, to the rest of Africa. Report by James Jeffrey in Addis Ababa.


UNHCR is reporting that number of Syrian refugees passed 3 million people, amid reports of horrifying conditions inside the country.

Almost half of all Syrians have been forced to leave home and flee for their lives. One in every eight has fled across the border, fully a million people more than a year ago. A further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria. Over half of those uprooted are children.

Help is being provided, see:



From left: Elaine Congress, Regina Sarabia, Mariam Elrazaz and Dolly Sacristan

Let’s get some facts straight about rape, sexual assault and intimate partner violence.

According to Fordham professor Dolly Sacristan, studies show that in the United States, an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of intimate partner assault every year. Eighty-five percent of the victims are women and 20 to 24-year-old school-aged women are at the highest risk of non-fatal sexual assault.

These issues are compounded by the fact that an estimated 95% of sexual assaults aren’t reported for numerous reasons: fear of revictimization, a sense of hopelessness in the face of unwarranted skepticism and lack of any meaningful change and countless other reasons.

Read More


Growing list of women tech entrepreneur initiatives in Africa | VC4Africa

Hilda Moraa presents 36 African women tech entrepreneurs initiatives, linked to tech hubs and other organisations across Africa. More to add? Please add initiatives and ideas in the comments below!

I think it’s time discussions and debates on whether there are few women in tech, their low participation in the tech hubs, or whether we should be developing more female based tech hubs across Africa, should take a different direction.

The true direction and goal should be for the existing hubs to start thinking through what is their priority and guiding principles in involving female tech entrepreneurs in their spaces.

More importantly, figure out the gaps and needs of those young women to then ensure they have the right support systems and mentorship to help them scale and grow.

On this note, there is need to acknowledge few examples of African hubs already supporting or have programs/initiatives that young tech women can actively participate. 


1. IHUB- Nairobi, Kenya with AKIRACHIX

2. Bongo Hive, Zambian with AKISANA NETWORK

3. Hive Colab Uganda with WITU (Women in Tech Uganda)

4. TANZ ICT Tanzania with FEMTANZ

Other African Women Initiatives not linked to the Tech Hubs

Other women initiatives targeting tech women entrepreneurs that are not linked to the tech hubs exist and some continue to do an awesome job in increasing the participation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Matehmatics) fields. Some of these initiatives can be found in the crowd map of Women Tech Organizations, an initiative by Asikana network. Also listed below:

WMIAFRICA (Women who mentor and innovate), Nairobi, Kenya

STEMAfrica, Africa

Techwomen, Africa, Middle East

Girls in ICT Rwanda

Afchix Uganda

AfChix Kenya

Afchix Africa women in Technology

Azur development in Brazaville Congo

Malawi women in Computing

Akili Dada, Nairobi Kenya

Her Zimbabwe

Si Jeunesse Savait (SJS) in Kinsasha

APC WNSP Africa Network, Johannesburg, South Africa

Africa gender Institute, Cape town South Africa

Pheonix Women’s Empowerment Centre, Mauritius

Triolet Women’s Empowerment Centre, Mauritius

Algierian National Association of Women in Communication, Algeria

Zimbabwe Women Resource Centre and Network (ZWRCN), Zimbabwe

She’s the Geek, South Africa

Association of South African Women in Science and Engineering

ACWICT (African Centre for Women, Information and Communications Technology), Kenya

Savana Signature (SavSign), Ghana

Jjiguene Tech, Senegal

Ghana Women in IT

Solar sister, Uganda

Women’s Technology Empowerment Centre, Lagos, Nigeria

Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET), Uganda

Divas4Tech, Nairobi Kenya

WITI (Women in Technology International)

GirlHub, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda

Women’s Net, South Africa

The Gender Research in Africa into ICTs for Empowerment (GRACE) project in 12 African countries

We need to support and encourage the many women initiatives that already exist as mentioned above. In return, the women initiatives/ programs also need to make strides in doing unceasing and an effective job in sensitization of their programs or initiatives to the targeted women groups as well as offering valuable support and opportunities to remain relevant and attractive to young women.

Ed’s note: Do go through the original link and add your thoughts and comments!


After being repeatedly sexually harassed and stalked, two teenage girls committed suicide at their school in India. The engineering students, Madhu and Nikita, both left suicide letters at their desks decrying the way women are viewed in society.

"Every day a new man would come and chase us. They would pass lewd remarks and offer us phone numbers. The people around us would stare as if we had done something wrong,” wrote 16-year-old Madhu in her six-page letter.

"I have not done anything wrong to bring shame on my family. I am ending my life because I cannot take this daily tension," 17-year-old Nikita wrote, urging police to crackdown on sexual harassment and warning of more suicides happening if action is not taken.

Read more via Thomson Reuters Foundation.



The Delhi rape case gave gender-based violence in India an international profile. It is an issue that activists are still desperately trying to find solutions to. But with increased dialogue and community-building comes the opportunity for change.

WATCH Meena Virayann’s powerful TED Talk about her personal story of pain, perseverance, and ultimately, hope.


Brave woman’s face becomes viral rallying cry against sexual harassment

Mary Brandon was attending England’s popular Notting Hill Carnival, billed as the largest street festival in Europe, when she claims she was repeatedly groped from behind by a random man in the crowd. According to her Facebook page, where she reported the exchange, she told the man to stop. He refused. “I pushed him away, exercising my right to tell a man to stop touching my body without my permission, so he took a swing at me and punched me in the face,” she wrote.

Graphic image that’s gone viral