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Compassion In Kenya

Compassion-CBO

Compassion CBO

Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas of Kenya and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo

Bahati-with-group

COFAPRI

COFAPRI is registered in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Grassroots News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....
Handwashing

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

Compensation Claims Board 2

The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

Globally, victim compensation programmes play a significant role in providing assistance to the victims of violence... however, in Pakistan we are lacking any such programme. It is high time to take serious note of the issue and develop a strong referral…
Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…

Asma-al-Assads-AccessoriesPhoto credit: Huffington Post

Interview with Anushay Hossain - part 2

Bangladeshi journalist, Anushay Hossain, began her career in women's rights as an intern at the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) where she worked on micro-finance for women and girls in her native country, Bangladesh.

A University of Virginia graduate, Anushay joined the Nobel Peace Prize nominated Campaign For Afghan Women before completing her MA in Gender and Development at the University of Sussex. She spent a year at UNIFEM's (United Nations Development Fund for Women) London office before returning to the Unites States, where she invests the majority of her work analyzing the impact of US foreign policy on women's rights around the world.

In 2009, Anushay founded her blog, Anushay's Point, and became a blogger for the Huffington Post. She also regularly writes for Forbes Magazine, Feministing, Ms. Magazine Blog, NPR (National Public Radio), Washington Examiner, and The World Bank Blog.

INTERVIEW

Firstly, what part do you think the internet plays in connecting people and breaking down stereotypes? And what part do you feel it has played in the recent revolutions and uprisings? Do you feel people are making new and valuable connections through the internet?

Yes they are. Just like you and I connected over social media during the Egyptian revolution. I mean a couple of years ago, this would never have happened.

Everyone loves to talk about the role of social media in these recent revolutions, but I think we really saw it for the first time in the Iranian revolution last summer. There aren’t that many foreign media agencies based out of there to begin with, and Iranians used Twitter to get their news out to the world. It played a critical role because Iranian authorities were clamping down on information so hard.

We really saw the people - like the average person on the street - upload their videos on You Tube, and upload their news on Twitter, and I think it’s progressed in what we saw in Egypt. Now we are seeing the same in Yemen, Libya, Syria. It really is citizen journalism. Governments cannot control information anymore. No one can really.

I think it’s given that ‘ordinary citizen’ an important role but I specifically think it’s given women – women bloggers - a huge platform. It almost makes your gender, especially in these traditionally conservative societies, momentarily irrelevant.

Staying with the subject of the Middle East uprisings, I was very interested to read your Forbes article about Vogue Magazine's piece on Asma Al-Assad. That really highlights the difference between the conversations that are happening on the social media and the topics still being covered by the mainstream media.

Oh my goodness, I was so mad about that and I’m sure it came across in my post! But I was like, "Now is not the time to be glorifying the wives of these dictators". The Syrian regime is on the brink of collapse, it is literally killing its people for their protest, and Vogue runs a piece on Asma's wardrobe?!

People in the media should understand the importance of timing better than anyone. I couldn’t believe how Vogue got their timing so wrong. It was so off that it was offensive, like a slap in the face.

I felt it was so disrespectful to all the things that are happening currently in the Middle East.

To glamorise and glorify the wives of these dictators, especially at a time when the people are really looking at the Middle East region, and the role the US has played historically in propping up many of these dictators. Even in America, where the public really suffers from ADDS when it comes to world affairs, people are beginning to see that governments in the Middle East do not represent their people who are so young, so hungry for democracy.

A lot of people have kind of commented on my post, which was published in Forbes Woman, asking me, "What do you expect from a fashion magazine like Vogue? Why are you so angry at Vogue?"

Vogue is not a publication just full of advertisements. Anna Wintour is not a moron editor-in-chief and Vogue actually regularly publishes really poignant political and feminist pieces. It's even written heavily on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

So it’s not like it’s the Daily Mail gossip section or InTouch Magazine that I was criticizing. Vogue is an iconic publication for a reason.

The revolutions in the Middle East are not something that would have escaped their radar. I think it was poor judgement that they thought they could get away with a glorifying profile on the wife of a Syrian dictator.

Do you think this really highlights a split in the 'women’s world', between mainstream women’s magazines who seem to think that women just want to talk about fashion, and the conversations which are happening on the social media, where women are talking about all sorts of deeper issues?

Exactly. Who cares about Asma Al-Assad's Louboutins? Even the Wall street Journal picked up on how ridiculous it was. Their critique of the Vogue spread was called, 'The Dictator's Wife Wears Louboutins,' designer shoes which start at $700.

It was interesting, when other outlets picked up my piece they dropped the comparison I made in my original post to Queen Rania, Asma's much more famous counterpart.

Vogue defended themselves by saying they had planned to run this piece for a while now. But I am sure it would be a huge PR kind of boon for Asma because she was relatively unknown when you compare her to Queen Rania who  is a darling of the west. Jordan of course is also a key US ally.

But, as vocal as Queen Rania is, she has been very very quiet about what’s been happening in the Middle East, what's happening even in Jordan. When I was writing my post it made me realize that in many ways she's exactly like Asma Al-Assad. Both women are being used by their regimes in the same way as these massive PR machines to project a more moderate, and modern image of the dictatorships their husbands run.

Queen Rania's husband is a huge dictator even though she is so beloved in the US, and Jordan is a major ally. There's no democracy in Jordan. She has made herself a symbol of women's rights for women and girls around the world, but Jordan has horrific honour killing laws and really women don't have many rights there.

So Rania cultivated this image of this modern Arab woman for herself through her fortune, her fashion, and it's worked. It's really effective. And a lot of dictators use their wives to promote a positive image of their countries. It’s not just Asma. It’s not just Queen Rania.

We see it across the board and it’s so effective. I mean I even fell for it. I never even thought about Jordan’s politics, even though I knew what it was, because I was just so captivated by Queen Rania.

You say the world sort of gets taken in by it. How is this sort of idolatry of the dictators' wives perceived in the Islamic world by the women there? Do they see these women as role models, or have they done in the past?

I don’t want to speak for everybody there, but I think that they almost can’t relate to it.

I mean the average woman in Jordan doesn’t live Queen Rania’s life. I think when she first got married to King Abdullah what was relevant was that the majority of Jordanian people are Palestinian. And she’s Palestinian so that was an honour. But what she has evolved to over the course of the past decade just is not a reality for the majority of Jordanians. I recently read that for her 40th birthday they used water to soften the sand of this village in the desert where her birthday festivities were held. The people of that village suffer from severe water shortages, but the desert sand was softened for Rania's guests so it would be easier to walk on.

So no, I don’t think that she represents the Jordanian people at all.

What was so interesting was another piece that got cut from my original post. But in the Vogue article, Asma Al-Assad actually talked about how her house is run, on "wildly democratic principles" and they all vote on where everything goes, from chandeliers to sofas. The Wall Street Journal kind of picked up the fact that it’s great that things are democratic inside her house - but outside her home they've been running a dictatorship for over 30 years, which has been handed down from her father-in-law to her husband.


READ MORE:

Interview with Anushay Hossain - Part 1 - Bangladesh, Islam & Feminism

Interview with Anushay Hossain - Part 3 - Women and Bangladesh

Interview with Anushay Hossain - Part 4 - From Berlesconi to Virgin Idols

Anushay's Point

Forbes Woman: Vogue Highlights the Design of Dictators - by Anushay Hossain

Wall Street Journal: The Dictator's Wife Wears Louboutins

Asma al-Assad: A Rose in the Desert

FACEBOOK:

Anushay's Point on Facebook

TWITTER:

Follow Anushay on Twitter: @AnushaysPoint