Stories: Women

  • Preying on disaster: How human trafficking has spiked in quake-shattered Nepal

    The year following two earthquakes that devastated Nepal saw a spike in desperate people falling into the clutches of human traffickers. Two years later, with the country’s infrastructure and economy still in ruins, NGOs say human trafficking is still on the rise. Nepal has long been a source of economic migrants, and the money they’ve sent...

  • In Pakistan, women are driving the demand for Islamic content in relatable, meme-sized bites

    In bookshops across Pakistan, there is no shortage of religious literature – translations and interpretations of the Quran, books of Hadiths (oral traditions of Prophet Mohammed) and stories of the prophets abound. Book stores stock long, elaborate texts, replete with quotes from scripture and anecdotes from the earliest days of Islam. But over the past few years, a couple of...

  • Pakistan City’s Affluent Women Bring Islam Into Their Lives and Lifestyles

    KARACHI, Pakistan — It was a weekday afternoon in an upscale neighborhood of Karachi, but the hall was packed for the lecture on Islam and marriage. Laughter burst forth as the speaker asked how husbands change over the years. They’re terrible listeners, one woman said. Inattentive, offered another. Other women, apparently without husbands, offered more charitable attributes: They...

  • A Carnaval of Resistance

    In Rio, locals joke that Carnaval starts one day earlier every year. On a weekend in mid-January, a full month before the five-day event’s official kick-off on Feb. 24, hundreds of people wearing costumes and shimmery face-paint crammed into Flamengo Park to see performances by samba street bands known as blocos (“blocks”), the key element of Brazil...

  • Rio street band drums up support for Carnival without harassment

    She didn't have a musical bone in her body, but that didn't stop Renata Rodrigues from starting a samba street band in Rio de Janeiro two years ago. When the 40-year old saw a viral Facebook post showing a man with a sign reading, "I don't deserve women who get around," she ironized the message by founding...

  • South Africa’s plan to tackle HIV among sex workers

    Johannesburg, South Africa - In the shadow of an underpass, wearing a black bob wig, Tlaleng paces along her patch of Nugget Street, scanning the downtown Johannesburg traffic. Behind her, other women lead clients behind the crumbling walls of a gutted building in the brisk morning light. But Tlaleng, a boiled egg in one palm, is distracted, her eyes roaming...

  • Women in East Timor Push for Political Power

    Timor-Leste will hold elections on Oct. 29 to determine the country’s next local leaders. And for the first time since this tiny Southeast Asian nation gained independence in 2002, women occupy prominent spots on village ballots. “The times are different now,” says Celestra Fatima, a village chief candidate in her district, Aileu. “After independence, as women, we...

  • For One woman, Working on an Ebola Burial Team Cracked Her Life Open

    At the height of the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, the rumors came fast and furious: The government was injecting patients with Ebola to shake more aid money out of the West; the best way to prevent Ebola was to drink salt water – gallons of it – or maybe bleach; the disease could be cured by onions, exorcisms, condensed...

  • Pregnant and Diagnosed with HIV: The Group Providing Support for Mothers

    Thirteen years ago, when Babalwa Mbono was eight months pregnant with her second child, she went to her clinic in Cape Town, South Africa, to have a routine HIV test. “I went with confidence because my first child was negative and I was negative then,” she says. When the test came back positive, Mbono couldn’t...

  • In South Africa, HIV Prevention Starts With Sex Workers

    A condom or a coffin. That is the real choice a woman faces when she decides between a man paying 40 to 400 South African rand (around $3 to $30) for sex while wearing a condom, and one paying 1,000 to 1,500 rand (around $75 to $110) for unprotected sex, explains sex worker Emily. In the city of Durban, where 53 percent of sex workers have HIV, peer...