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The unfinished revolution
Voices from the global fight for women's rights

Minky Worden
Paperback, 384 pages, 208 x 140 mm
04 Jul 2012


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North America customers can order this book here from the University of Chicago Press.

"While sociologically and academically relevant, this is a cohesive and eminently readable document that is simultaneously an inspiration and a call-to-action."
Publishers Weekly
"Diverse voices of hopeless, hopeful, and boldly determined women from around the world comprise a compelling, multicultural resource supplemented by copious endnotes, a reading list, and an index."
"The unfinished revolution is a great read, essential for any reader who is passionate about human rights, freedom, justice, and equality for all."
5 star review on
"The unfinished revolution made me angry and hopeful in equal measure - angry because it charts the abuse of women's rights the world over, hopeful because it tells the stories of brave women and men who are bringing change. Essential reading for those who work in the field of human rights."
Lindsey Hilsum, International Editor, Channel 4 News

About This Book


Women's rights have progressed significantly in the last two decades, but major challenges remain in order to end global gender discrimination. The unfinished revolution: Voices from the global fight for women's rights outlines the recent history of the battle to secure basic rights for women and girls, including in the Middle East where the hopes raised by the Arab Spring are yet to be fulfilled. This anthology opens with a foreword by Christiane Amanpour and features essays by more than 30 writers, activists, policymakers and human rights experts, including Nobel laureates Shirin Ebadi and Jody Williams. Most important are contributions from women who have fought against human rights abuses and have become agents of change. Contributors propose new workable solutions to ongoing rights violations including human trafficking and harmful traditional practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. As a whole, the book shows that the struggle for women's equality is far from over and is essential reading for everyone involved in the fight to realise the full potential for half the world's population. 

Author Biography

As Director of Global Initiatives for Human Rights Watch, Minky Worden develops and implements international outreach and advocacy campaigns. She previously served as Human Rights Watch's Media Director, as an adviser to Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee in Hong Kong, and as a speechwriter at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. She is the editor of China's Great Leap (Seven Stories Press, 2008), and co-editor of Torture (The New Press, 2005).


Foreword: A historic moment for women's rights ~ Christiane Amanpour
Introduction: Revolutions and Rights ~ Minky Worden
PART ONE: A revolution in thinking: women's rights are human rights: The Shoulders we stand on: Eleanor Roosevelt and roots of the women's rights revolution ~ Ellen Chesler
How women's rights became recognized as human rights ~ Charlotte Bunch
Technology's quiet revolution for women ~ Isobel Coleman
PART TWO: Revolutions and transitions: Islamic law and the revolution against women ~ Shirin Ebadi
A civil society-led revolution? Promoting civil society and women's rights in the Middle East ~ Sussan Tahmasebi
After the Arab spring, mobilizing for change in Egypt ~ Esraa Abdel Fattah and Sarah J. Robbins
Women in Iraq: losing ground ~ Samer Muscati
Saudi women's struggle ~ Christoph Wilcke
PART THREE: Conflict zones: Devastating remnants of war: the impact of armed conflict on women and girls ~ Jody Williams
Under siege in Somalia ~ Hawa Abdi and Sarah J. Robbins
Confronting rape as a weapon of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo ~ Anneke Van Woudenberg
"I was sold twice": harmful traditional practices in Afghanistan ~ Georgette Gagnon
Letters in the night: closing space for women and girls in Afghanistan ~ Rachel Reid
PART FOUR: The economies of rights: education, work and property: Unequal in Africa: how property rights can empower women ~ Janet Walsh
Cleaning house: the growing movement for domestic workers' rights ~ Nisha Varia
Ending trafficking of women and girls ~ Mark P. Lagon
Do no harm: "post-traffiking" abuses ~ Elaine Pearson
PART FIVE: Violence against women: A needed revolution: testing rape kits and US justice ~ Sarah Tofte
Violence against immigrant women in the United States ~ Meghan Rhoad
Behind closed doors: domestic violence in Europe ~ Gauri van Gulik
PART SIX: Women and health: Maternal mortality: ending needless deaths in childbirth ~ Aruna Kashyap
Lasting wounds: female genital mutilation ~ Nadya Khalife
Fistula: giving birth and living death in Africa ~ Agnes Odhiambo
Fatal consequences: women, abortion and power in Latin America ~ Marianne Mollmann
PART SEVEN: Political constraints and harmful traditions: Claiming women's rights in China ~ Sharon K. Hom
A long march for women's rights in China ~ Sheridan Prasso
Girls not brides ~ Graça Machel and Mary Robinson
Damned if you do, damned if you don't: religious dress and women's rights ~ Judith Sunderland
PART EIGHT: The next frontier: a road map to rights: Funding an unfinished revolution ~ Gara LaMarche
The challenge of changing the world for women ~ Liesl Gerntholtz
Afterword: The revolution continues ~ Dorothy Q. Thomas.


ReviewsOwn it? Review it!

The unfinished revolution
The Unfinished Revolution ,Voices from the Global Fight for Women's Rights ,Edited by Minky Worden ,Minky Worden presents a comprehensive collection of essays in the backdrop of several legislative developments and persistent challenges to the realization of women's rights across the world. One of the historical milestones that the book is set against is the Arab spring where women have been in forefront of political change. However basic questions remain with regards if women stand to gain from overthrowing of the tyrants. In spite of legislative advances all across the world the most extreme forms of violence continue unabated. Human rights watch was the first organisation to address domestic violence as a human rights issue. The relentless efforts of the researchers in Bosnia and Rwanda resulted in systematic rape and other forms of violence against women as 'weapons' of war and which provided the foundation for prosecution of sexual violence as crime against humanity. In 2011 Tunisia became the first country to lift more reservations from CEDAW and back the gender parity law requiring each party to run an equal number of male and female candidate in the constituent assembly elections. ,Political revolutions have not been able to address women's equality as evident in post revolution Egypt where women lawyers and opposition leaders who weakened the foundation of Mubarak's rule found themselves excluded from post revolution committee that was to set up the new constitution. Human rights intend to make everyday life better for people and unless people and societies work together to realize human rights it will remain elusive. The representation of women rights remains important as language adopted Vienna declaration "the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of human rights" and went to name gender based violence as an abuse to be eliminated. The Vienna, Cairo and Beijing processes has spawned commitment from the United Nations towards 'gender integration' into all aspects of public policy. However, this integration is popularly referred to as gender mainstreaming remains an incomplete and controversial project all across the world. Shirin Ebadi makes an important point that 1979 revolution remains a revolution of men against women primarily due to the legalization of polygamy. She emphasizes that religion has been used against women to suppress them therefore women should understand religion to find answers to this suppression in private and public spheres. Koran does not have any place for misogynist and discriminatory laws. It serves to contradict the people who have deemed the feminist agenda as a 'western agenda'. Several difficulties remain in realizing women's rights in the society. Some of the stumbling blocks remain efficient recording and delivering of justice to victims of sexual violence or conducting 'maternal deaths audits' in hospitals or accurate statistics on kidnapping and trafficking of women and girls, forced abortions, infanticide continue to remain state secrets in China. Still 100 countries in the world do not have any laws on domestic violence. The feminist struggle for gender equality remains relevant even today in the academia or on the streets of our countries.,Dr Keerty Nakray,Jindal Global Law School ,,,
Reviewed by Dr Keerty Nakray

The unfinished revolution
Minky Worden presents a comprehensive collection of essays in the backdrop of several legislative developments and persistent challenges to the realization of women's rights across the world. Dr Keerty Nakray,Jindal Global Law School ,
Reviewed by Dr. Keerty Nakray

The unfinished revolution
This is a book that can bring the reader to despair yet conversely it can also fill them with hope and inspiration. I doubt if anyone could read this book without feeling emotion, it compels one to think, feel and hopefully make a conscious decision to take some part (be it great or small) in this unfinished revolution. It is a very readable book for anyone with an interest in human rights, gender or women's studies. It gives a current overview of the global picture regarding women's issues from the viewpoint of academics, those working in the field and perhaps most importantly from everyday women themselves, it gives a voice to women all around the world. It is uplifting to read real life accounts of women who are struggling to make better lives for themselves, for each other and for their children, despite the burden of inequality and oppression. Women's issues are presented from a variety of perspectives (such as health, work, family, victim, activist,supporter) illustrating the holistic nature of gender inequality. In the final chapter by Dorothy Q Thomas she relates how she was advised to 'stick to the facts', 'the truth is that with respect to the state of women in the world the facts were shocking enough'. This is reflected throughout the book - it does not exaggerate, dramatise or use emotive vocabulary, the facts speak for themselves about the gross injustices and abuses that women and girls face practically every day of their lives. It also reflects how women and girls have in the past and continue to this day, to be brave, resilient, enduring and unrelenting in their fight for their human rights across throughout the ages and across the globe.
Reviewed by Beverley Afghan

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