How to grow cannabis? With modern science and technology

Canada (Conversation) – In Canada and around the world, legal cannabis producers face many challenges: Varying government regulations, high security requirements and a lack of reliable information on how to grow their crops. Growing cannabis has been illegal for so many years that scientific research on how to best produce this crop is limited. Much of the knowledge on how to grow cannabis lacks validation, is clouded in secrecy and is mostly connected to hidden and illegal production facilities of the past. In contrast, researchers have been improving production practices…

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Magdalene Magazine Gives a Platform to Women and Other Marginalized Sectors of Indonesia

Indonesia (GV) – Since 2013, Magdalene has been publishing articles that speak to adolescent girls and women, members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, and religious minorities in Indonesia. This online publication was launched to offer a space for writers who wanted to tackle taboo topics in a country where Islamic hardliners have been aggressively pushing authorities to enforce their religious beliefs in society. Indonesia is the largest country in the world with a Muslim-majority population. Its founding principles as a nation include the promotion of pluralism,…

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The Long Tradition of Women Being Told to Shut Up

(Conversation) – Professor Mary Beard’s latest book Women & Power: A Manifesto is a short, sharp analysis of women in the West and their ongoing struggles for a voice in the public domain. Based on two lectures delivered in 2014 and 2017, Beard chronicles some of the major obstacles women continue to face, framing her analysis through the lens of the legacies of ancient Greece and Rome. In her first essay, Beard provides some examples from antiquity to illustrate the social and gender dynamics inherited in the West. In short,…

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How Indigenous Women Who Survived Guatemala’s Conflict are Fighting For Justice

Guatemala (Conversation) – In February 2016, Guatemalan women survivors and the alliance of organisations supporting them successfully prosecuted two former members of the Guatemalan military for domestic and sexual slavery in the groundbreaking Sepur Zarco trial. The trial marked the first time a national court has prosecuted members of its own military for these crimes. It was an historic achievement in the fight to stop violence against women and secure justice for wartime sexual violence. And yet, two years later, the Guatemalan government has not carried out most of the collective reparations measures ordered…

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From Land Day to the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, Palestinians have plenty to protest

Palestine (OpenDemocracy) – On Friday March 30, over 30,000 Palestinians peacefully approached the border area of the Gaza strip to bring attention to their unfulfilled right of return to their families homes inside Israel and to highlight the ongoing plight of living under Israeli occupation. Israeli military forces responded with lethal force, deploying troops, drones, tanks, and snipers who fired on the crowds using live fire, rubber-coated steel pellets, and tear gas. By the end of the day, fifteen Palestinians had been killed – many of them plainly unarmed – and over…

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#GirlsOnBikes: Women Ride Bicycles To Reclaim Public Spaces in Pakistan

Pakistan (GV) – On April 1, 2018, a bicycle rally was organized in major cities of Pakistan (Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi) by prominent Pakistani feminist collective Girls at Dhabas. The ‘Girls On Bikes’ Rally was their third annual event to promote female participation in public events, fight restrictions faced by women in public places and increase awareness about issues faced by women. In May 2015, two Karachi-based girls, Sadia Khatri and Natasha Ansari, started using the hashtag #GirlsAtDhabas as a space to curate photos of women on Tumblr. The hashtag went…

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How an uproar over aid and sexual exploitation ignored women’s actual experiences

(Conversation) – The recent “Oxfam sex scandal” – during which some aid workers were accused of paying for sex with young women in vulnerable conditions – has focused almost exclusively on the aid workers and aid organisations involved. But the perspectives and motivations of the young women who were paid for sex with money or material goods have hardly been discussed at all, and the contexts in which they live have been misrepresented and misunderstood. The problem of transactional sex in areas hit by disaster, war, or extreme poverty is…

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When is Sex Work ‘Decent Work’?

Thailand (OpenDemocracy) – My name’s is Liz Hilton. I’m from Empower Foundation, which is a sex worker organisation. I’ve been part of the Empower family since 1992. The reason why there’s only me here (at the conference ‘Human trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery: understanding popular narratives and planning strategic action’, held by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women in August 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand), and not the rest of Empower, is that the sex workers in Thailand are sick of talking about trafficking so they sent me. Sam Okyere (oD):…

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‘We Won’t Give Up’: 25 Years of Feminist Resistance to the War on Women’s Bodies in Poland

Poland (OpenDemocracy) – Before 1993, we could terminate our pregnancies legally and safely. Today, Poland is home to one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe. In theory, abortion is legal when the mother’s health is at risk, in cases of fetal abnormality, or when pregnancy is the result of rape or incest. But, in practice it is almost impossible to access abortion services legally. According to official statistics, only 1,098 legal abortions were performed in the whole country in 2016. Many more women terminate their pregnancies illegally, in conditions that may…

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How Women Rice Weeders in Italy Took on Fascism and Became Heroines of the Left

Italy (Conversation) – In an era before the dawn of pesticides and mechanisation, an all-female workforce was employed to “disinfect” and harvest Italy’s rice crops. These Italian rice weeders may be a thing of the past, but they have a remarkable political legacy. Italy was, and remains, Europe’s largest rice producer. The rice weeders, known in Italian as “mondine”, could be found knee-deep in flooded fields from May until July, across Italy’s “rice belt” which spans the northern regions of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and the Veneto. In my ongoing…

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