On Women & Gender Issues

ICE Drafts Guidelines With Fewer Restrictions on Restraining Pregnant Women

Congress was close to passing a comprehensive deal on immigration reform at the beginning of the year. Then it fell apart. WSJ's Gerald F. Seib takes a look at key elements of the bill and whether lawmakers could revive it next year. Photo: Getty WASHINGTON—The U.S. is weighing looser standards for some immigration detention centers, including scrapping certain guidelines governing the restraint of pregnant women and ensuring children can visit detained parents.

Antigay Sentiment Poses Dilemma for Kenya Ahead of Obama Visit

NAIROBI, Kenya—When men shouting antigay slurs threatened to bust into Ronald Waswa’s apartment here this month, his landlord called the police. But the officers didn’t just stop the intruders—they held Mr. Waswa and his three roommates for 10 hours, beating them while trying to extract confessions they were gay. “They said, ‘You’ll have to wait for Obama to save you,’ ” recalled Mr. Waswa, a 21-year-old unemployed man who still has...

'Code of conduct' is seen as setback for Afghan women

KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghanistan's president has endorsed a "code of conduct" issued by an influential council of clerics that activists say represents a giant step backward for women's rights in the country. President Hamid Karzai's remarks backing the Ulema Council's document, which allows husbands to beat wives under certain circumstances and encourages segregation of the sexes, is seen as part of his outreach to insurgents like the Taliban.

Afghan woman killed, apparently for bearing girl

An Afghan woman has been strangled to death, apparently by her husband, who was upset that she gave birth to a second daughter rather than the son he wanted, police said Monday. It was the latest in a series of grisly examples of subjugation of women that have made headlines in Afghanistan in the past few months - including a 15-year-old tortured and forced into prostitution by in-laws and a female rape victim who was imprisoned for adultery.

EU suppresses its own film on Afghan women prisons

The other story in the film reveals the judicial perils for women. The 26-year-old ran away from a husband who regularly beat her. She ran off with a young man whom she says she loves but has never had sex with. Regardless, she was arrested and imprisoned for adultery, also a criminal offense in Afghanistan. "It's really emblematic of the promises that Afghan women thought were made to them in 2001 and which they're discovering over recent years either weren't promises at all, or are broken pro

Afghan police work to overcome barriers for women

KABUL - The young Afghan woman leaves home every morning with her face and figure hidden by a burqa. At her office, she dons a police uniform, grabs a pistol and starts knocking in doors, looking for drug dealers and Taliban sympathizers. Gulbesha, 22, is one of about 500 active duty policewomen in Afghanistan, compared with about 92,500 policemen. She is also one of just a few dozen who serve in the volatile south, where Taliban influence is strongest.

Afghan women face threats and public scorn in presidential race

In a country where most women leave home only under a burqa, Shahla Atta wears bright pink nail polish, highlights her eyes with glitter and wants to be Afghanistan's next president. Ms Atta, 42, is one of two women among more than 30 candidates vying for the presidency - an uphill and even dangerous undertaking. Neither has much chance of unseating President Hamid Karzai in the August 20 vote.

Afghan cleric defends 'rape' law

KABUL – A key backer of an Afghan family law that critics say legalizes marital rape and rolls back women's rights rejected an international outcry as foreign meddling yesterday and insisted the legislation offers women many protections. The law, which applies only to the Shiite minority, says a husband can demand sex with his wife every four days unless she is ill or would be harmed by intercourse, and regulates when and for what reasons a wife may leave her home alone.

Afghan TV stations find censorship line is blurry

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN — The young Afghan woman in a headscarf spends all day staring at other women's bodies and Hindu idols on her computer screen, then covering them up. It's Laila Rastagar's job to turn Indian and Korean soap operas into family viewing in this conservative Muslim country. Dual flat-screen monitors illuminate the 22-year-old's face in the dark cubicle as she draws a blurry square with her mouse to obscure a collarbone, then a kneecap, then a Buddha statue. She's one of a crew of such editors employed by Tolo TV, Afghanistan's most popular station, to censor shows in an attempt to balance its programming at the intersection of radical Islam, traditional values and the West.

Fishing town's mothers unite to fight migration

THIAROYE, Senegal — At a funeral in this Senegalese fishing town, mothers wept for their sons — dozens of whom drowned when the wooden craft they hoped to take to Europe was caught in a storm. Then the mothers decided to stop it from happening again. The group from that March funeral has grown to 357 women — all having lost a son, husband or cousin who set out on a perilous voyage hoping for a better life.

African Migrants Struggle With Split Lives

KEBEMER, Senegal -- Maimouna Niang lives pretty well for a young mother in a dusty corner of West Africa. Although her house sits on a dirt road and a sheep pen occupies half her yard, she also has a DVD player, a phone line in her house and an elegant wooden crib for her 1-year-old son. What's missing, she says, is her husband, Cheikh Dia, who has just returned to Italy and won't be back for a year. For much of the year, many of the able-bodied men of this town in northern Senegal live in Europe, where they work in factories or sell watches and knickknacks on the street. They spend part of their earnings on food and rent, then wire the rest to families back home.