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Outsourced labour: international surrogacy and women’s rights

Ashlee Betteridge writes on international surrogacy, and whether commercial surrogacy in a poor, developing country can ever be a fair or acceptable option.

“…the voice that we perhaps most need to hear in this debate is the voice of women who work as surrogates. As governments scramble for answers, both in developed and developing countries, it is this voice that is missing from policy debates.”

Read the full post.

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Global Gag Plus, family planning and Australian aid

Ashlee Betteridge and Camilla Burkot write on the US decision to reinstate the Global Gag Rule, and urge Australia not to follow suit.

‘Australia must stay strong and stick to the current family planning guidelines that put women’s empowerment at the forefront. It should also consider increasing the percentage of aid spending that goes towards family planning and sexual and reproductive health to fill the vacuum that will be left as US aid-funded programs are forced to end. Since the Global Gag Plus executive order was signed, the Dutch government has announced the establishment of a global abortion fund to help fill the gap, for which Belgium has indicated its support and Canada has also expressed interest. Perhaps this is an initiative that Australia too should consider supporting.’

Read the full blog.

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Wonder Women aren’t (just) the stuff of fiction

Camilla Burkot and Ashlee Betteridge discuss the UN appointment of Wonder Woman as an ambassador for gender equality.

‘Why celebrate a cartoon character when there are so many real life women heroes (or, should we say, sheroes)? And why resort to tokenism via an online mascot when there are so many avenues for real and meaningful change left for the UN to pursue, both within its own halls and in the wider world?

It’s 2016. Gender equality shouldn’t need to draw on fictional characters to find a message. If Wonder Woman can attract some attention to gender equality among the noise (and abuse) online, perhaps that’s OK, but the real women of the real world need real power — not just a superhuman mascot to cheer for them.’

Read the full blog.

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Beyond human rights: ending child marriage as a development imperative

Human rights are enough reason alone to push for an end to early and forced marriage. Groups such as Human Rights Watch have been working on this issue for many years. Still, campaigners now cite a whole host of other reasons to end the practice, such as the improved healtheducation [pdf] and poverty alleviation outcomes when girls marry later. Child marriage is now squarely framed as a development issue.

Read the full post on child marriage on the Devpolicy Blog.

(Image from Too Young To Wed)

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Why we need to talk about periods: menstrual hygiene management in development practice

Women and girls have obviously been coping with menstruation for a long time without the aid of fantastic plastic convenience. They make do, using cloth rags or other methods like straw, leaves, newspapers, mud or ash, slipping out of the home at night time to bury used rags in the dirt or finding private places to wash and hang them out to dry.

Read the full post on the Devpolicy Blog.

This post was also republished by Magdalene Indonesia.

(Photo credit: Echawalu Photography)