Women and Girls Rising : Progress and resistance around the world book cover
1st Edition

Women and Girls Rising
Progress and resistance around the world

ISBN 9781138898776
Published June 30, 2015 by Routledge
450 Pages

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Book Description

A growing body of evidence demonstrates that improvements in the status of women and girls – however worthy and important in their own right – also drive the prosperity, stability, and security of families, communities, and nations. Yet despite many indicators of progress, women and girls everywhere – including countries of the developed world – continue to confront barriers to their full and equal participation in social, economic, and political life.

Capturing voices and experiences from around the world, this work documents the modern history of the global women’s movement - its many accomplishments and setbacks. Drawing together prominent pioneers and contemporary policymakers, activists, and scholars, the volume interrogates where and why progress has met resistance and been slowed, and examine the still unfinished agenda for change in national and international policy arenas. This history and roadmap are especially critical for younger generations who need a better understanding of this rich feminist legacy and the intense opposition that women’s movements have generated.

This book creates a clear and forceful narrative about women’s agency and the central relevance of women’s rights movements to global and national policy-making.. It is essential reading for activists and policymakers, students and scholars alike.

Table of Contents

Introduction  PART I: Establishing new norms at the United Nations 1 The century of women: a reflection 2. From the time of creation: legacies and unfinished business from the first International Women’s Year Conference 3. Women’s rights are human rights: a concept in the making 4. Feminist mobilizing for global commitments to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls 5. Taking stock: protection without empowerment? the evolution of the women, peace and security agenda since the Beijing Platform for Action 6. Seeing sexual and reproductive health and rights through the eyes of a youth activist: a reflection 7. The evolution of ideas: a feminist’s reflections on the partnership with the UN system PART II: Realizing rights at the national and local level 8. Women’s human rights and the political arena of Brazil: from dictatorship to democracy 9. Tackling history and culture: building the women’s rights movement and leveraging global conferences for local realities in Pakistan: a reflection 10. Women’s human rights in Iran: from global declarations to local implementation 11. Crossing the bright red line: the abuse of culture and religion to violate women’s sexual and reproductive health rights in Uganda 12. Negotiating gender mainstreaming in China 13. At once and for all: human rights and women’s status in the United States 14. Turning tides and making a difference in Nepal: a reflection 15. My evolution as a young feminist in Lebanon: a reflection PART III: Achieving economic justice 16. Gender equality and economic growth: a win-win policy agenda? 17. Revaluing caregiving: recent victories for domestic workers’ rights 18. Women, employment, fertility and other women 19. The MENA’s woman problem: progress and challenges in women’s economic participation  20. Public policy innovations to help American men and women succeed as providers and caregivers 21. On organizing for economic justice in Bangladesh: a reflection PART IV: Educating girls and eliminating child marriage 22. Be the change: a reflection 23. Raising the global ambition for girls’ education 24. Girls’ education as a peace and security issue 25. Financing girls’ education: a reflection 26. A short history of the long struggle to identify and eliminate child marriage: Amhara, Ethiopia as a case study 27. Child marriage in India: involving men and boys in cultural and behavioral changes 28. Working with adolescent girls in Egypt: a reflection PART V: Taking on the new challenge of climate justice 29. Gender equality, human rights and climate justice: reflections and a call to action 30. Women's role in energy access and solutions to climate change: a reflection 31. Afterword

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Ellen Chesler, PhD, is a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute, where she directs the Women and Girls Rising program. She is author of Woman of Valor: Margaret Sanger and the Birth Control Movement in America (1992), which remains in print in a new paperback edition released in 2007. She is co-editor with Wendy Chavkin, M.D. MPH of Where Human Rights Begin, a volume of essays that emerged from a fellowship program they directed for the Open Society Foundation. Chesler has also written extensively for academic and public policy anthologies, journals, newspapers, magazines and blogs. Over a 40 year career, she has held positions in government (chief of staff to New York City Council President Carol Bellamy, 1978-84); philanthropy (Open Society Foundation, 1997-2006, and the Twentieth Century Fund, 1992-1997); and academia (Hunter College of the City University of New York, 2007-10, and Barnard College, 1988-9, 1992-3) and is widely respected for both the intellectual and practical perspectives she brings to her work. She is currently a member of the advisory committee of the Women’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch and of the Council on Foreign Relations. She served for many years on the board of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and as chair of the board of the International Women’s Health Coalition. She has three times been a member of the U.S. delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women. She holds a B.A. from Vassar College and an MA and PhD, with distinction in history, from Columbia University.

Terry McGovern, J.D. is Professor of Population and Family Health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she directs the Health and Human Rights Certificate and teaches human rights and environmental justice. From 2006 to 2012, Terry was a senior program officer in the Gender Rights and Equality Program at the Ford Foundation. She developed a highly successful health and human rights policy initiative in the U.S. and helped build the strategic policy capacity of groups working globally to advance the health and human rights of women and girls, LGBT individuals, and other marginalized populations. McGovern founded the HIV Law Project in 1989, where she served as Executive Director for ten years and litigated numerous cases against the federal, state and local governments, including a successful class action charging that the U.S. government had discriminated against women in its response to the AIDS epidemic. McGovern has published extensively and testified numerous times before the U.S Congress and other policy making entities. She is a graduate of the Georgetown School of Law.


'It is essential that we create a new normal—in our homes, in our nations, and in this United States—and that is what the dedicated and talented women and men whose voices are represented in this book are doing every day. The book is a treasure because it tells their stories.' - Gloria Steinem, author, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist

‘Women and girls keep this world spinning; they are also the key to keeping it from spinning out of control. Women and Girls Rising moves smoothly between personal and particular accounts--stirring testimony from Brazil, Iran, Pakistan, China, Uganda, China, and the United States graces this volumes --and analysis, eschewing policyspeak without abandoning policy or politics. The result is humane and instructive, a data-driven but never arid defense of the feminism needed to promote social justice in a world in need. Read this book and see a vibrant and global movement placing women and girls at the center of agendas for health and human rights--and for social and economic progress that doesn't wreck our fragile and beautiful planet.’ – Dr Paul Farmer, M.D., Harvard University and Partners In Health, USA

"As we mark the twentieth anniversary of the Beijing Conference, no volume will be more instructive in helping us understand the progress we’ve made and the backlash it has engendered than a new book edited by Dr. Ellen Chesler and Terry McGovern, entitled "Women and Girls Rising: Progress and resistance around the world."  This book documents the history of the modern global women’s movement and examines where and why women and girls have seen progress in a range of areas, from education to economic justice to shifts in cultural and social norms. It is clear that while we have seen much progress in the twenty years since Beijing, much more work still remains. .Ellen and Terry’s book, has done much not only to document the history of the global women’s movement, but also to illuminate the path forward." -- Rachel Vogelstein, Senior Fellow and Director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations

"Ellen Chesler and Terry McGovern have co-edited a timely and important collection of analytical essays and personal reflections in their new volume, Women and Girls Rising. The volume offers a thoughtful reckoning of the influence of the U.N. Conference on Women held in Beijing." -- Alison Bernstein of Rutgers University

"(The good news is that official recognition of women’s issues worldwide, which are perhaps more varied and nuanced now than ever before, has grown dramatically since Eleanor Roosevelt’s time; the bad news is that oppressive conditions on the ground have not changed nearly enough.) Change has simply not kept pace with the need for change, a theme running through the entire book. That theme doesn’t dim the optimism, but it’s a constant companion" -- Erin Aubry Kaplan, Ms. Magazine

"On the whole, this is an excellent book which will be enlightening for postgraduates interested in interdisciplinary research in political economy, although its central thesis is relevant to all of the social sciences. Of particular merit is Holland’s re-interpretation of the work of several key political economy thinkers in terms of critical realism. Holland also provides an interesting record of the struggles experienced by practitioners of interdisciplinarity — struggles that an engagement with critical realism would largely eradicate." -- Leigh price, Rhodes University, South Africa/ University College London, UK