• Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

    Business Leads

    The Women Battling an Islamist Strongman

    As Turkey’s president restricts free speech and ignores domestic violence, the country’s businesswomen are pushing back.

    ISTANBUL—Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision last week to arrest the editor in chief of an opposition newspaper is the latest crack in this country’s image as a modern, Westernized country. But it’s not the only sign of an erosion of rights.

    Turkey has had more than a decade of economic boom, and is now the sixth-most-visited tourist destination in the world. Yet, beyond the glittering skyscrapers and nightclubs, persistent questions remain over human-rights abuses and, in particular, the country’s increasingly unequal treatment of women.

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  • Spencer Platt/Getty

    Sister Act

    The Vatican’s Rare Nod to Nuns

    The Catholic Church released its final report on its investigation into ‘feminist’ American nuns—and it took a softer stance toward the sisters.

    VATICAN CITY—Six years ago Pope Benedict XVI aimed to curb “a certain feminist spirit” and “secularist mentality” that the Church fathers discerned, to their dismay, in the ranks of American nuns. On Tuesday, when the Vatican under Pope Francis delivered its final report on the subject, those concerns were nowhere to be found.

    The report was the fruit of an investigation into 341 American congregations guided by Mother Superior Marie Clare Millea, a matronly sister who became tearful at times, in front of a packed pressroom, while describing how she went about collecting her data.  Only the cloistered convents were excluded, and not all of the religious orders complied with the visitors’ requests and questionnaires, though Millea was unable to recall just how many or what percentage of American nuns refused to cooperate.  

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  • AP Photo

    Cooties!

    9/11 Mastermind Is Afraid of the Ladies

    The accused mass murderer has a rather, um, unusual life in captivity—from the body scanners to the anti-sniper netting to the demands that female guards stay far, far away.

    GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE—On days when self-described 9/11 attacks mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed appears before the war court, he is removed from his cell at the detention facility here and moved swiftly into an area designated Area of Operations Patriot. 

    Inside AO Patriot is the so-called Expeditionary Legal Complex and a $3 million courtroom, where pre-trial proceedings for KSM and his co-conspirators have been taking place since 2011. KSM enters the complex through a “Sally Port,” a series of gates designed to allow just one vehicle in at a time. Barbed wire is ubiquitous. The vehicle containing him pulls up alongside five reinforced trailers, holding cells for each of the five charged with conspiring to perpetrate the 2001 attacks. 

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  • Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters

    Risking Everything

    Meet the Women Kicking ISIS’s Ass

    It’s not enough for some Kurdish mothers to send their sons off to war against Islamic State. Their daughters are going, too.

    SULIMANIYA, Iraq—Every morning when veteran fighter Lt. Col. Nasreen Hamlawa walks into her office, the first thing she sees is her daughter’s martyr poster. Snapped on the front lines outside Kirkuk just days before she was killed, Rangin Hamlawa, 26, dressed in classic beige peshmerga fatigues and holding a sniper rifle, stares hard into the camera.

    “I’m glad my daughter died for a cause,” Hamlawa said calmly, referring to the duty of the peshmergas (described as a “regional guard force” in the Iraqi constitution) to defend Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region. “It’s a cause, beliefs that I share,” she said, “and now all I want is to return to the battlefield to continue that work.”

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  • Facebook

    BIG EYES

    Russia’s Creepy Child-Model Circuit

    When a mother puts stunning pictures of her little girl up on social media, she may make her a star. But she’ll also attract the human refuse of the Web.

    MOSCOW — Do you know any children with 2,500,000 “likes” on their Facebook pages? A nine-year-old Russian girl living in Moscow, Kristina Pimenova, just topped that number.

    She’s probably a very likeable kid, in fact, but the popularity is all about the pictures. One fashion blog named her recently as “the most beautiful girl in the world,” full stop. And while the “beautiful” is evident, especially those penetrating grey-blue eyes, there’s an uncomfortable edge to some of the photographs that blurs the difference between “girl” and “woman.”

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  • Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty

    Face to Face

    Why I Removed the Veil

    One of Saudi Arabia’s preeminent activists, who led the right-to-drive movement, describes her decision to take off the niqab.

    No piece of cloth throughout history has sparked more controversy as the veil. Many Muslim women are forced to wear it daily. The hijab has a spectrum, of course, from its most radical embodiments, the niqab, which covers the entire face, to loose fitting headscarves.

    Saudi Arabia comes come second only to Iran in using the power of the stick (the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice or the religious police) to impose a particular form and color of hejab on all our women. And when I say all our women, I mean all: Saudi and non-Saudi, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

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  • Author and feminist activist Gloria Steinem, left, speaks with actress Eva Longoria in the program segment, "The Face of Feminism" during the Women In The World Texas Forum, presented by Tina Brown Live Media, Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014, at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. (Robin Jerstad/DA Media for Women in the World)

    WOMEN IN THE WORLD

    Live From Texas: Women in the World!

    Tina Brown’s signature event traveled to Texas to take on the issues important to women around the globe. From Ebola to immigration, from honor killing to the strains of military life, the forum covered it all.

    America’s seventh largest city was the site of the latest meeting of Women in the World. A sold-out crowd of 800 (mostly) women packed the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio to take part in the event. “Your hearts are big, your wits are sharp,” Tina Brown told the crowd at day’s end. The event, with Toyota as presenting sponsor, was co-hosted by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, journalist Marie Brenner, Aaronetta Hamilton Pierce, Ambassador Karen Hughes, Sonya Medina Williams, Guillermo Nicolas, Toyota’s Sandra Phillips, City Manager Sheryl Sculley, Gloria Steinem, San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor and designer Diane von Furstenberg.

    The program began with a performance by singer, songwriter, activist Omntia Hegazy and percussionist Natalia Perlaza, followed by San Antonio Mayor Ivy R. Taylor. #WomeninWorldTX became a trending topic on Twitter just moments after the day began.

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  • Shah Marai/AFP/Getty

    How We Lied To Afghanistan’s Girls

    One reason given for the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was to educate girls. But as the Western military shrinks there, so does the funding for those schools.

    KABUL, Afghanistan — The girls of Afghanistan have been betrayed. When Taliban rule ended almost 13 years ago, international donors rushed in to promise that young women would no longer be denied an education. Western governments spent a decade patting themselves on the back for what they touted as exceptional work supporting schools for the beleaguered girls of Afghanistan. They talked about bringing women out of purdah, literally as well as figuratively, so they could help their families and their country to prosper.

    But the closing of one school after another exposes the hollowness of those promises. In fact, the state of education in Afghanistan is still so shaky that only about half of Afghan girls manage to go to school, and those numbers are set to decline.

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  • bert verhoeff/Hollandse Hoogte/Redux

    Vivid And Venerable

    Tuchman Is Still the Best on WWI

    She never earned a Ph.D. or taught in a university history department. Barbara Tuchman called herself a writer whose subject was history. Whatever she was, there was no one better.

    The historian Fritz Stern memorably called World War I “the first calamity of the twentieth century, the calamity from which all other calamities sprang.” No one in late June 1914 anticipated that the assassination by a Serbian nationalist of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, would draw in all five major European powers and their various allies into a cataclysm that would snuff out the lives of 20 million soldiers and civilians, destroy three empires, and lay the groundwork for an even bloodier World War II.

    Shock and disillusionment over such vast, seemingly senseless destruction led the writers and artists dubbed a “lost generation” to toss out most of the old assumptions about the meaning and purpose of human experience, and gave birth to what scholars in the humanities generally refer to these days as “modernity.”

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  • Battle Cry

    Are We Failing Syria’s Women and Girls?

    Despite legislation meant to help women and girls in conflict zones, much more must be done to ensure rapid action on the ground—especially in Syria.

    For the millions of women and girls displaced by conflicts across the globe, it has been a summer of extreme hardship. As a seemingly unbroken series of crises have unfolded from South Sudan to Mount Sinjar, from Gaza to Syria, women and girls comprise the majority of those displaced. They endure further torment as rates of rape, domestic violence and early marriage skyrocket in times of crisis. As Syrian women and girls confirm in a new report, without a change in approach by the international community, women around the world will have little relief from the ongoing violation of their human rights.

    In the past 14 years, the UN Security Council has passed no less than seven resolutions on the role of women in peacebuilding, including 1325, a landmark resolution that asserted that women are uniquely burdened by armed conflict and are critical to resolving it. In 2005, UN agencies and their partners outlined—and agreed upon—key actions (better known to humanitarians as the IASC guidelines), which, if implemented during a humanitarian response, would better protect women and girls from violence.

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  • Shutterstock

    Epidemic

    When ‘Tantric’ Is Code for Rape

    A ‘tantric healer’ in northern India who forced himself on a teen girl has been castrated by his victim—and it appears he’s part of a subculture of sexual predators purporting to heal.

    It’s hard to believe that police would heap praise on a young woman accused of severing a man’s penis with a knife. It’s even harder to believe that such a thing would happen in India, a country with a deeply ingrained tradition of misogyny.

    Some necessary, sympathy-eliciting context: The unnamed girl, a 17-year-old from the northern state of Bihar, was defending herself against the unwanted sexual advances of Mahendra Mehta, a local “tantric healer” who diagnosed the teenager, recently stricken by a mystery ailment, as having been possessed by evil spirits. Besides dispensing crackpot cures and forcing himself on his patients, Mehta is the knife-wielding girl’s uncle. And he had, she claims, raped her before.

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  • Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP/Getty

    Culture War

    Oops: Ukrainian Star Takes Kremlin Award

    Street protests and clashes with police mark a Ukrainian singer’s performance after she accepts Russian culture award.

    In vain, Odessa, Ukraine’s “Pearl on the Black Sea,” tried to stay calm and celebrate the summer, but the stench of war reached the city’s graceful streets trimmed with old chestnut trees. Hate for everything pro-Russian traveled all the way from the frontline in eastern parts of Ukraine to the city’s center, sparking rallies and arguments amongst Odessits, as the locals are known. This time, the reason for the street fighting was a beautiful woman, a dark-haired diva and Eurovision competitor, Karolina Kuiek, known as Ani Lorak.

    Ukrainian nationalists have declared that not a single “Russian” pop star would ever perform again on Odessa’s soil, especially now, after a caravan of coffins with Ukrainian soldiers “killed in [a] war with Russia” arrived from the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, said Ukrainian nationalists.

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  • Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty

    Keeping Tradition

    The Despicable Persistence of the Dowry

    Washing machines, cars, money and jewelry: These are the costs to women’s families to marry them to 'suitable' men.

    NEW DELHI — This April, Guruswamy, a 52-year-old platform cleaner with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, had finally found a caste-appropriate match for his 16-year-old daughter Pankaja. But the week before the wedding, he was asked to send a colour television, washing machine and new motorcycle to the groom’s family in South India. After grueling 20-hour shifts cleaning cars and working on the Metro’s platforms through the summer, he has managed to make only enough for a washing machine.

    “It will be a while before I have enough to send everything by train,” he said. “I pray every day that they shouldn’t find someone else for their son to marry. No one else from the village in Chennai will marry her if this family rejects her.”

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