India

Everywhere at the Human Rights Council (HRC) the catchphrase on everyone’s tongue was “shrinking spaces for civil society”. But what does it mean, really? How are activists grappling with this “shrinking space” in their work? To try and find out a little more, JASS Southern Africa's Maggie Mapondera interviewed activists from as far afield as Mongolia, Brazil and India to learn from their experiences and analysis.
JASS Board Co-chair and feminist scholar, Srilatha Batliwala, writes about what crossing the line means to her: "I bow my head in salutation to Januba and her mother. I bow my head in silent salutation to all the women around the world who cross the line."
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From February 15-20, JASS’ Board and Regional Directors gathered for a series of meetings in Washington DC to develop a vision, plan and agenda for what JASS will become by 2020. This time was filled with exciting events including a panel discussion on the political empowerment of women at George Washington University as well as a fun dinner party with the Crossregional team.
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John Samuel is the Head of Global Programmes on Democratic Governance Assessments at the Bureau of Development Policy at the UNDP headquarters, New York and a senior Democratic Governance Advisor at the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre.
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It’s easy to assume that global economics are value-neutral and simply reflect the “natural” order of things. In reality, our economic world order is shaped by distinct ideologies and beliefs about who should have access to and control over what resources, such as education, property, credit, and even time. The predominant paradigm is based on neoliberal and capitalist principles that promote free markets, unregulated trade, consumer-driven growth, and privatization of essential services, for example. But genuine alternatives exist and have always existed.
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The word on the street (and in the New York Times) is, or at least was, that after all that effort and gardening, the Ambanis don’t live in Antilla. No one knows for sure. People still whisper about ghosts and bad luck, Vastu and Feng Shui. Maybe it’s all Karl Marx’s fault. (All that cussing.) Capitalism, he said, “has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, that it is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.”
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Srilatha is a long-time women’s rights advocate and feminist scholar. For 10 years, she served as JASS board co-chair. She is the Director of Knowledge Building and Feminist Leadership at CREA. Before that, she was a Scholar Associate with the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID).
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