World Policy Journal: Winter 2016/2017

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World Policy Interrupted

Table of Contents

Editors’ note: Get in formation
As long as institutions are male-dominated, society will continue to look to men as authorities, argue guest editors Elmira Bayrasli and Lauren Bohn, the co-founders of Foreign Policy Interrupted. To address today’s challenges, we must insist on a media landscape where more women are quoted, bylined, and miked.

The Big Question: What do sex workers need to better control their working conditions?
World Policy Journal asked five experts from around the globe how sex workers can better control their working conditions.

A seat at the table: The fight for gender parity in Kenya and Somalia
For women across the world, electoral politics can be a hostile and violent place. Writer Nanjala Nyabola investigates the parliamentary quota systems in East Africa, showing how well they can work when supported with institutional will and how resoundingly they can fail when the patriarchy conspires to undo them.

Anatomy: Gender disparities in East Africa
World Policy Journal examines East African gender data in politics, education, and labor.

Good girls revolt: The future of feminism in China
Given the limited right to assembly in China, a mass feminist movement that confronts the Communist Party is unlikely to materialize, argues historian Maura Elizabeth Cunningham. But fragmented and incremental pushes for women’s rights will continue for years to come, and they will be no less revolutionary for being quiet.

Map room: Legal transitions
World Policy Journal looks at the legal requirements in various nations for changing one’s gender on official documents.

A “witch hunt against poor women”: Across the Americas, abortion laws are harming health and security
Restrictive reproductive policies in El Salvador, Colombia, the U.S., and elsewhere are pushing women toward unsafe procedures. Journalist Angelika Albaladejo argues that current legislation only exacerbates the inequality, shame, and discrimination that women face across the Americas.



The accidental president
World Policy Journal speaks with Dr. Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, a biochemist who became the first female president of Mauritius. She discusses the importance of integrating science into politics, what prevents women from rising into positions of power, and how her country pulled off its “economic miracle.”



“We want to stay alive”: Ending feminicide in Juárez, Mexico
In Alice Driver‘s interviews and photographs, she documents how activists and mothers in Juárez, Mexico are trying to hold the state accountable for the ongoing violence against women and girls.



“We have no freedom”: Losing hearts and minds in Thailand’s deep south
An insurgency has consumed much of southern Thailand. Since 2004, almost 7,000 have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded as Malay Muslims push for greater autonomy. Journalist Abby Seiff describes the Thai government’s brutal security tactics and investigates what’s sustaining the conflict and how it might finally be ended.

“Warehouse of souls”: How the EU abandoned Greece
An EU-Turkey deal intended to stem the flow of migrants to Europe has turned Greece’s islands into de facto open-air prisons. Meanwhile, journalist Tania Karas reports that right-wing sentiment is now growing in regions heralded just a year ago for their selfless care of refugees.

Germany’s second-class refugees: Afghan asylum-seekers stuck in limbo
Afghanistan is an increasingly dangerous war zone, but Germany refuses to offer safe haven to the majority of Afghan refugees. Journalist Lam Thuy Vo reveals that while Germany approved 96 percent of asylum applications for Syrians in 2015, Afghan asylum-seekers have less than a 50-50 shot of securing permission to stay.

The great European unraveling?
After Britain voted to leave the EU, the European dream of a united continent is at risk, but it’s not yet dead. The Atlantic Council’s Alina Polyakova argues that EU leaders must create opportunities for young people to reap the benefits of the economic bloc’s accomplishments. Unless a new generation is made a political priority, it could be lost to the far-right parties sweeping across Europe.

Partnering up: How to work with religious leaders to counter violent extremism
Manal Omar, author and a vice president at the U.S. Institute for Peace, argues that to successfully counter violent extremism (CVE), practitioners need to address concerns that these strategies are designed only to serve Western interests. Thus, CVE programming should commit to an inclusive agenda, acknowledge an array of factors that drive individuals toward extremism, highlight the positive role faith can play in preventing violence, and establish partnerships with women and youths.

Russian brinksmanship: Don’t confuse unpredictability with strength
When Russia intervenes, according to analyst Olga Oliker, the result is not the respect that Moscow seeks but a reputation for unpredictability. A policy of anti-American opportunism renders many of the Kremlin’s relationships transactional and fleeting. Oliker argues that until Russia develops a more intentional foreign policy, the country’s direct influence won’t extend beyond its neighborhood.

The newest power couple: Iran and Russia band together to support Assad
Russia and Iran’s military and economic ties are stronger than ever, according to Ellie Geranmayeh, a policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. Fueled by military cooperation in Syria, resistance to what they consider the U.S.’ regime change agenda, and a shared vision of global order, the Iran-Russia relationship seems poised to shape the Middle East for years to come.

Islands apart: Why the Saudi-Egypt alliance is on the rocks
Egypt handed over two uninhabited islands to Saudi Arabia, sparking the largest mass protests in Cairo since 2014. Both governments say they want to maintain close ties, according to journalist Sarah El Sirgany, but conflicting expectations, dissatisfied citizens, and domestic transformations threaten to destabilize this crucial alliance.

“We have to talk about it”: Why Brazil must confront the crimes of its military period
When a society fails to confront the dark episodes of its history, it leaves its past vulnerable to distortion and exploitation, argues journalist Fernanda Canofre. Brazil has never properly investigated the crimes of its military dictatorship period (1964-1985), and far-right politicians have been manipulating the country’s collective memory of this era for their own gain.

Neither truth nor reconciliation: Why Indonesia’s army wants the country to forget its darkest year
Natalie Sambhi, a research fellow at the Perth USAsia Centre, examines the violence in Indonesia in 1965-66, when an estimated 500,000 people were murdered. The Indonesian army, which instigated the slaughter, continues to prevent the country from reckoning with its bloody past. The impasse between survivors and the military establishment makes it difficult—even dangerous—to take steps toward reconciliation.

Racist in the machine: The disturbing implications of algorithmic bias
Companies and governments need to pay attention to the unconscious and institutional biases that seep into their algorithms, argues cybersecurity expert Megan Garcia. Distorted data can skew results in web searches, home loan decisions, or photo recognition software. Without careful consideration, Garcia writes, our technology will be just as racist, sexist, and xenophobic as we are.

Infographic: Women in media
Women have historically been underrepresented in the media as authors and experts. World Policy Journal finds out if more voices are being heard in major publications today.

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