Documentary recap: A Path Appears

January 29th, 2015


A Path Appears: Sex Trafficking in the US

by Staff Contributor Camry Haskins

The first installment of “A Path Appears” focused on sex trafficking in the United States. It highlighted the fact that trafficking is not just a problem on the other side of the world. Trafficking is a very real problem in the United States of America. Nicholas Kristof, coauthor of the book, A Path Appears invited famous actors to spend time in different cities taking the opportunity to speak with women who have been affected by trafficking. Ashley Judd takes a moment to share her own history of incest and rape with women in a self-help group. After sharing her story, she is taken around the city she grew up in and is reintroduced to the city through a new lens.

Magdalen House is one organization highlighted in this documentary. Magdalen House is a free, two year, residential program for women who are trying to leave a life of prostitution. After housing the women and realizing how few have anything to put on their resume, an organization called Thistle Farms was created so that the women could gain work skills. Thistle Farms is staffed by the women and sends money back into the program.

An important point made was the power the community has to reduce the propensity of sex trafficking. Searching through websites such as can aid in locating girls who have potentially been coerced into prostitution. The law enforcement needs to step up their techniques in both finding missing girls and locking up their procurers. The pimps and johns need to be targeted by police, not the prostitutes. The end of the film highlighted a police operation that caught men responding to an ad for prostitution. They have apprehended hundreds of men this way. If law enforcement makes this their focus, trafficking can be reduced.

Don’t miss the second episode of A Path Appears, airing at 10pm on PBS  Monday, February 2.

Watch the first episode online until February 14.


Kudos to IGIS and GGP

January 26th, 2015

womenThe Guardian mentions an Institute for Global and International Studies (IGIS) and Global Gender Program (GGP) Working Paper in its article, “Women Still Face a Fight for Recognition in War and Peace”.

To read the Working Paper click here.

To read The Guardian article  click here.

Org Spotlight: Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women

January 23rd, 2015

Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women

adew_logoThe Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women (ADEW) originally got its start when a group of development professionals launched a micro-finance project for garbage collectors in Zaballeen in the 1980s. During the projects implementation, the developers decided they should expand the project to help marginalized groups in Cairo. They identified low-income women of female-headed households as the vulnerable group they would target. This initial development work turned into ADEW in 1987 when the group of twenty men and women decided to register the Association with the Ministry of Social Affairs as a private, voluntary, non-governmental organization.

Today, ADEW still runs credit programs but now it also offers literacy programs, health services, and legal awareness seminars. Some of ADEW’s achievements include being the first Egyptian nongovernmental organization to identify female heads of households as a target group and the first to establish a micro credit program using a group lending methodology. They were also the first to address the problem of lack of official documentation and work on solving this problem.

ADEW’s mission is to create suitable conditions for Egyptian women on both personal and societal levels. They seek to change the culture of the community and women’s image in society, while also changing laws and policies. Their vision is then to give women, especially female heads of households, their legal, economic, social, political, and cultural rights in order to become full citizens and decision-makers within the family. Through equality with men they hope to give women the same opportunities in order for women to gain the ability to make their own choices.

Article of Note

January 21st, 2015

Childbearing Traditions of Indian Women at Home and Abroad: An Integrative Literature Review

by Young-Oak Wells and Elaine Dietsch women_and_birth

The percentage of overseas-born mothers giving birth in Australia has increased to 31.5% in 2012 and Indian women represent 10% (the highest proportion). It is important for midwives in Australia to be aware of the childbearing traditions of Indian women and how these influence Indian women birthing in Australia. To explore childbearing practices in India and Indian women’s experience of giving birth abroad; and to discuss the relevant findings for midwives working with Indian women in Australia. An integrative literature review was employed. 32 items, including 18 original research articles were thematically reviewed to identify commonly occurring themes relating to Indian women’s childbearing traditions. Five themes relating to traditional childbearing practices of women birthing in India were identified. These themes included diversity and disparity; social context of childbirth and marriage; diet based on Ayurveda; pollution theory and confinement; and finally, rituals and customs. Indian women giving birth abroad and by implication in Australia experience a transition to motherhood in a new culture. While adjusting to motherhood, they are also negotiating between their old and new cultural identities. To provide culturally safe care, it is essential that midwives reflect on their own culture while exploring what traditions are important for Indian women.

Women and Birth 27(4):e1-e6, 2014.

Article of Note

January 19th, 2015

Beyond Access to Information: Understanding the Use of Information by Poor Female Mobile Users in Rural Indiainformation_society

by Devendra Dilip Potnis

Digital inclusion research has focused overwhelmingly on access to information. But access to information by itself is of limited value unless the intended beneficiary has the capacity to use it. It is the use of information that delivers the benefits. However, in information and communication technologies for development literature, there is little empirical work on the process by which use of information delivers benefits. This study fills the gap by studying information use by poor female mobile phone users in rural India. It identifies six stages in the information use process and models them. 

The Information Society: An International Journal 31(1): 83-93, 2015.[not open access]

Org Spotlight: Aisyiyah

January 16th, 2015



Aisyiyah: Women’s Movement Berkemajuan


Aisyiyah was established in 1917, making it nearly a century in operation. It is an autonomous organization of Muslim women working together throughout Indonesia, to contribute to the advancement of women in various fields of life, better education, health, economic, social welfare, legal awareness, political education, and women’s empowerment.

Aisyiyah has a history of promoting women’s empowerment. It was one of the organizations that were actively involved in creating the First Indonesian Women’s Congress in 1928. It was also one of the original initiators of the establishment of organizations federation’s Indonesian women’s organizations.

In other areas of development, Aisyiyah has founded a school to promote education, a number of hospitals to provide services to the general population as well as women and children’s care specifically, and Aisyiyah has established care facilities for a number of population groups around Indonesia. There is an orphanage, elderly home, and training facility.

Aisyiyah works to uphold Islam and the Islamic community throughout all of its work. This focus is realized in the form of charitable efforts, programs, and activities, including but not limited to:

  1. Increasing the dignity of women in accordance with the teachings of Islam.
  2. Improve education, develop culture, expand science and technology, and stimulating research.
  3. Improve the economy and entrepreneurship in the direction of improvement of quality of life.
  4. Improve and develop activities in the areas of social, welfare, health, and the environment.
  5. Improve and pursue law enforcement, justice and truth, and foster a spirit of unity and national unity.

How slippery is the slippery slope?

January 14th, 2015


A little comic relief this Wednesday, brought to you by Lefty Cartoons. Enjoy!


DVD and digital release of “Crossing Lines”

January 14th, 2015


A powerful film on the Indian American Experience.

“Crossing Lines” is about an Indian American woman’s struggle to stay connected to India after the loss of her father.  Like most second-generation ethnic Americans, Indira Somani has struggled with identity issues, since her parents migrated to the U.S. in the 1960s.  Being born and brought up in the U.S. Indira led an American life, but at home, her world was Indian because of her father’s immense love for India and Indian culture.   This film takes you on a journey to India, where Indira visits her father’s extended family for the first time after his death.  The film explores how Indira tries to stay connected to Indian culture and her extended family, despite the loss of her father.  It is the story of how one daughter pays tribute to her father in all that he’s taught her about India, Indian culture and family.  awards

“Watch this documentary and give your kid a hug, especially if she is a girl.”
Ashfaque Swapan, India-West

To find out more about the documentary and its creators click here.

Article of Note

January 13th, 2015

logo_pubmedJustice at the Margins: Witches, Poisoners, and Social Accountability in Northern Uganda

by Tim Allen and Kyla Reid 

Recent responses to people alleged to be “witches” or “poisoners” among the Madi of northern Uganda are compared with those of the 1980s. The extreme violence of past incidents is set in the context of contemporary upheavals and, in effect, encouragement from Catholic and governmental attitudes and initiatives. Mob justice has subsequently become less common. From 2006, a democratic system for dealing with suspects was introduced, whereby those receiving the highest number of votes are expelled from the neighborhood or punished in other ways. These developments are assessed with reference to trends in supporting ‘traditional’ approaches to social accountability and social healing as alternatives to more conventional measures. Caution is required. Locally acceptable hybrid systems may emerge, but when things turn nasty, it is usually the weak and vulnerable that suffer.

Medical Anthropology 34(2):106-123, 2014. [not open access]: 

Org Spotlight: WRDA

January 9th, 2015

The Women’s Resource and Development Agency


The Women’s Resource and Development Agency (WRDA) supports Women’s Groups and Networks within Northern Ireland. WRDA works from a feminist perspective in order to progress toward a fair and equal society where women are empowered within their own lives and with the influence to affect change in all areas of life.

WRDA is a regional organization working to advance women’s participation in society in order for women to achieve social, economic, political, and cultural progress. They partner with 20 other organizations and have the support of nine funders both within and outside of Northern Ireland.

Through their partnerships and funding WRDA is able to provide over 3000 training locations that have so far reached over 6000 participants. WRDA also uses their influence to campaign and lobby on issues affecting women. Through their work WRDA pushes policy makers to acknowledge the problems that women continue to face.

Most recently WRDA has helped to put together a factsheet on DOJ abortion consultation.