Women brave social barriers to join Afghan police force

June 9, 2011

(Afghan policewomen search women at a polling station in Herat, western Afghanistan September 18, 2010/Raheb Homavandi)

Malaysia’s Obedient Wives Club angers women’s rights groups

June 5, 2011

(Ishak Md Nor, 40, (2nd L) and his two wives, Aishah Abdul Ghafar, 40, (C) and Afiratul Abidah Mohd Hanan 25 -- both members of the Obedient Wifes Club -- laugh with their children after the club's launch in Kuala Lumpur June 4, 2011/Samsul Said)

French police arrest protesters before burqa ban goes into effect

April 10, 2011
veil

(A Muslim woman protests against France's banning of full face veils from public spaces, outside the French Embassy in London September 25, 2010/Luke MacGregor)

Witness – Searching for reforms in King Abdullah’s Saudi Arabia

March 24, 2011
(Saudi King Abdullah address the nation from his office at the Royal Palace in Riyadh March 18, 2011. Saudi King Abdullah announced on Friday billions of dollars in handouts for his people and boosted his security apparatus in a renewed effort to shield the world's top oil exporter from unrest rocking the Arab world. REUTERS/Saudi Press Agency)

(Saudi King Abdullah address the nation from his office at the Royal Palace in Riyadh March 18, 2011/Saudi Press Agency)

Conservative German state bans burqas for civil servants

February 2, 2011
niqab

A French Muslim wearing a niqab veil in Nantes, April 23, 2010/Stephane Mahe

Hesse, a state run by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, on Wednesday became the first German region to ban Muslim face veils for public sector workers.

Top French court rejects gay marriage appeal

By Reuters Staff
January 28, 2011

gay

France’s ban on same-sex marriages was upheld by the country’s constitutional authority on Friday, in a ruling that relieves the government of any obligation to grant gays the wedding rights enjoyed by heterosexuals.

from Pakistan: Now or Never?:

Pakistan, blasphemy, and a tale of two women

January 24, 2011

blasphemyprotestFor all the bad news coming out of Pakistan, you can't help but admire the courage of two very different women who did what their political leaders failed to do -- stood up to the religious right after the killing of Punjab governor Salman Taseer over his call for changes to the country's blasphemy laws.

Orthodox Church asks Russian women to dress modestly

January 20, 2011

russian orthodoxRussian feminists have expressed outrage after the country’s increasingly powerful Orthodox Church proposed an official dress code to ensure that women dress more modestly.

Dutch may introduce burqa ban as early as 2011

December 16, 2010

wilders (Photo: Geert Wilders in The Hague, December 16, 2010/Jerry Lampen)

The Netherlands could ban full face veils worn by some Muslim women,as soon as next year, Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. Wilders’ populist Freedom Party is the third largest in parliament and provides crucial support to the minority ruling coalition in exchange for the government taking a tougher line on Islam and immigration from non-Western countries.

European human rights court faults Ireland on abortion ban

By Reuters Staff
December 16, 2010

echr (Photo: European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, January 30, 2009/Vincent Kessler)

The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Ireland on Thursday for stopping a Lithuanian cancer sufferer from terminating a pregnancy, in a blow to the predominantly Catholic country and its tough abortion laws. In a final ruling, the rights court found Ireland had not respected the privacy and family rights of the Lithuanian woman, who was living in Ireland and feared a pregnancy could trigger a relapse of her cancer, in remission at the time.