Weekly Wrap Up: May 16, 2011

Women in the “New Egypt”

A well-known Egyptian TV host and activist, Buthayna Kamel, announced her intention to become Egypt’s first female president. Kamel is known for her propensity to discuss taboo topics such as sexual relationships and domestic violence. She is also an outspoken advocate for  democracy and fears that women will be left out of the new government’s discussions if not properly represented. Former President Hosni Mubarak instituted quotas to increase women in parliament but cultural attitudes and extremism remain. Kamel may have an uphill battle ahead but one thing is guaranteed: her presence on the national stage will certainly put Egyptian women’s role and equality at the fore. Click here for the full post.

A Dose of Justified Imperialism

Nick Kristof in his column this week discusses the practice of female genital mutilation, or female genital cutting as some aid groups are now calling it. He calls it a “Rite of Torture for Girls” and there are no better words to capture it. The procedure, described in the article, is conducted without anesthesia and often leads to infections or worse. Though the practice is widely looked upon in the West as “wrong” it is not discussed with frequency due to its awkward nature. But as Mr. Kristof says, “this is a grotesque human rights abuse…” Click here to read the column.

Sexual Assault Bill

After recent reports of high rates of sexual assault in the military, and the lack of a proper response for victims, a new bill introduced in the House aims to combat this. According the the Veteran’s Administration, 48,106 female veterans and 43,693 male veterans reported experiencing military sexual trauma during health screenings performed in fiscal year 2008. New provisions added to the National Defense Authorization Act will increase confidentiality for victims as well as ease the process of transferring to another base. Sexual assault training will also increase at all levels. Click here for the full report.

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