• Groundbreaking Arab League declaration heightens global momentum to end gender discrimination in nationality laws

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    This blog was cross-posted from the European Network on Statelessness.

    Amid the tragedy and uncertainty of today’s global challenges, there have been several important developments in the fight for gender equality in the past year. Importantly, these wins do more than advance gender justice; they help to address the root causes of some of the greatest challenges we face today. From the reform of rape laws in Jordan and Lebanon, to the banning of child marriage in Malawi, women’s long-awaited right to drive in Saudi Arabia, the increasingly international #MeToo movement to combat gender-based harassment and violence, Iceland’s new pay equality law, and women’s marches around the world, demanding equality and rejecting misogynist political leaders; women and men are demanding an end to discriminatory laws and practices, and creating a more just, secure, and peaceful world as they do it. This is especially true of the fight to end gender discrimination in nationality laws, which has seen momentum for reform building in multiple regions, and notable progress achieved in the past year.

    Getting Cash Right for Women Refugees

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Everyone is talking about cash these days. Cash assistance is being significantly scaled up across the humanitarian system as the preferred modality of assistance, where markets allow. And rightly so. Cash is known to enable household choice and dignity; it is faster to deliver; cash transfers can be more efficiently delivered than in-kind assistance (like tarps, mattresses, bags of rice, or maize); and assists local economies in recovering from shocks. All the big operational players — UNHCR, International Rescue Committee, World Vision, are increasing the proportion of assistance they deliver via cash transfers. As these cash providers zip forward on this cash bus, they must get the foundation right.

    We’ve Come A Long Way

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Earlier this month, more than 200 sexual and reproductive health (SRH) professionals — from 50 countries and 100 agencies — gathered in Athens, Greece, for the 17th Meeting of the Inter-Agency Working Group (IAWG) on Reproductive Health in Crises. By contrast, my first IAWG meeting, in 2013, was so small that we opened the meeting by having each attendee stand up and introduce themselves and their respective agencies. IAWG has come a long way in the last four years alone, and as I stood in front of 220 SRH colleagues, champions, advocates, and allies at the opening of this year’s meeting, its transformation could not have been more apparent.

    Our Detention System Is Broken.

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    “…I know I lost all my rights when I arrived to this country. … It does not seem right to me that, knowing if a person is returned, she will be killed, that the U.S. returns the person anyway.” Rosa, Detained in El Paso

    It does not seem right to us at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) either. The United States should be a country where rights are protected, not taken away.

    Girl Data & An Inconvenient Truth

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Empowering girls before, during, and after crisis. That’s this year’s theme for International Day of the Girl. At the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), it’s far more than a theme; it’s what we dedicate ourselves to achieving, every day. Part of that commitment means identifying where we — the international community — are failing and where we need to get it right.

    Prison for Survivors

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    This blog was cross-posted from Medium.

    Earlier this year, a woman named Clara arrived at the United States border seeking protection from gender-based harm she faced in West Africa. She had endured an arduous journey trying to reach the U.S. border, where officials registered her claim for asylum. Rather than release her to pursue her case, however, officials sent Clara into the vast network of immigration detention facilities across the U.S. Since arriving in this country, she has been treated like a criminal, shackled and transferred multiple times between different detention facilities, awaiting a final decision on her request for protection that will determine her fate.

    Celebrating Ten Years of Disability Work at WRC

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    “I think it is important to share with you that I am a woman who has a disability. This doesn’t stop me though... I feel I have a very important job to do. I am working to make women and girls safer… those who are not always included in activities, those who are often forgotten about. I can remember times when that was me... Now, I am very active, I am a leader in our community… and I work as a social worker. I feel I have valuable things to add and that I can advocate for [them] because I understand their needs.” (Mieraf, My’ani Camp)

    The Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies Target Women and Children

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    Recent news stories have detailed how President Trump’s immigration policies continue to target women and children and rip families apart. He has instructed US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel to arrest, detain, and deport indiscriminately.

    Just this week, two brothers in Maryland – one a 19-year old rising soccer star who had just secured a college scholarship – were deported after one of them made a courtesy call to ICE to inform officials about his college plans. Earlier this year, a mother of three children – all U.S. citizens – who had fled the drug cartel violence in Mexico, was whisked away from her home and family in Ohio by ICE officials and deported. And, just last week, President Trump elevated John F. Kelly from secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to White House chief of staff, applauding him for his “tremendous results” in implementing the refugee ban and ramping up immigration enforcement.

    An Ounce Of (After-Sex) Prevention: At The Family Planning Summit, Let’s Talk About Emergency Contraception

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    Crossposted from The International Consortium for Emergency Contraception

    To meet the global Family Planning 2020 goals, a full range of family planning methods must be available, including user-controlled, short-acting methods. The Guttmacher Institute’s analysis, Adding it Up, estimates that 214 million women of reproductive age in developing regions want to avoid pregnancy but are not using a modern contraceptive method. Half of unmarried women with an unmet need for family planning report infrequent sex as the reason that they do not use a family planning method. A quarter of married women not using contraception fall into the same category. Not feeling themselves at high levels of risk, these women may wish to avoid the appointments and waiting times, dependence on providers, side effects, discomforts, and other commitments that long-acting contraceptive methods sometimes entail. Other women may not be using modern contraception because they are unaware of their options or are faced with inaccessibility due to distance barriers, poor health infrastructures, stock outs, or high prices. As well, many women are located in humanitarian and fragile settings where contraceptive access can be challenging.  For many women and girls not currently using a long-acting contraceptive method, a simple, discreet, user-controlled, low-commitment, one-time “on demand” form of contraception that can be accessed easily and quickly is a critically important option. This method already exists: emergency contraception.

    New Strategies to Address GBV in Urban Humanitarian Settings

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    Displacement is increasing dramatically and it is increasingly urban. Today 65.6 million people around the world are displaced by conflict and 60% of those who are refugees have found refuge in urban areas. This necessitates a re-think of humanitarian service delivery including for the prevention of and response to gender-based violence (GBV). Specifically, it is imperative that we all dig deep to better understand, prevent, and respond to GBV in urban settings.