Pakistan in Focus: From Zainab Ali Khan, Founding Working Group Member

Zainab Ali Khan, Founding Working Group Member of Every Woman Treaty, is a Gender Specialist with over 10 years of work experience in the Development and Corporate sectors of Pakistan. Belonging to a conservative family, Ms Ali Khan had to fight for her right to a foreign education. She is the first woman in her family to be sent abroad for further education. Ms Ali Khan’s educational background includes a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine (USA) in English Literature with a minor in Women’s Studies. She also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Toronto (Canada) in Women and Gender Studies. Ms Ali Khan was awarded full scholarships for both degrees. During her time at the Women and Gender Institute of University of Toronto, Ms Ali Khan extensively researched honor crimes in Pakistan for her dissertation entitled, “Honor Crimes in Pakistan: A Critical Analysis of the Zina and Qisas & Diyat Ordinances.”

Ali Khan’s work in the development sector of Pakistan includes working as a Documentation Specialist for a USAID funded Gender Equity Program worth USD 38 million – one of the biggest gender equity initiatives in the country. She has also worked for Women on Board, an initiative of the South Asian Federation of Exchanges that aims to address the acute imbalance of women professionals on corporate boards and higher management in Pakistan. She has also worked with AASA Consulting, a firm that specializes in social policy and human resource management.

She is the author of a number of publications including case studies, success stories, reports, and a magazine. As a women’s rights activist who feels very passionately about gender equality, Ms Ali Khan has had the opportunity to speak about women’s empowerment in Pakistan and internationally.

This week, she analyzes the mistreatment of women in Pakistan, but also why hope still remains.

“The rape, torture, and abduction of a woman doctor in the time of COVID-19, the honor killing of another that's conveniently been dubbed a suicide, and the harassment of women who speak their mind online - THIS from a nation whose founding father, Mohmmad Ali Jinnah, recognized that the power of the sword and the pen both pale in comparison to the power of women! However, even in these dark times, hope remains! Stories such as that of Tabassum Adnan remind us that the women of Pakistan have traded their bangles for fists. Kudos to Academy Award-winning Director, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, for shining a spotlight on these stories! In violent times, showing a mirror that reflects the misogyny of your culture is a heroic act in itself!"

MUST READSJustice demanded for Female lawyer abducted and raped

Pakistani women journalists face online abuse

Dr. Anyouzoa: Inflection Point in Cameroon

Women’s rights are human rights. And human rights are women’s rights. The escalation of preventable violence in Cameroon underscores the need for a binding, global treaty that levels the law for victims and survivors. This week our Senior Policy Research Fellow, Dr. Jeanne Anyouzoa shares her analysis.  

“Violence against women is taking a gruesome turn in Cameroon, a country in Central Africa, where a civil war has been raging since 2017 as the result of a failed bid at culturally and politically assimilating an English-speaking minority in the Southwest part of the country. Graphic videos depict the murder of women at the hands of rebel groups. Violence allegedly perpetrated by government forces have been widely condemned by human right groups and foreign chancelleries.

“A close analysis of these incidents illustrates the increasingly barbaric crimes are an epiphenomenon of deeply ingrained cultural biases against women across ethnic, social, and political lines in a country where, interestingly, the leadership is genuinely promoting the welfare and wellbeing of women and girls.

“These recent events in Cameroon should be a wakeup call for all who are not yet convinced of the necessity of a binding treaty to protect women and girls everywhere. Every Woman Treaty’s clarion call for this binding treaty is more than a rallying cry.

"The souls of those sisters speak to us. The souls of those sisters speak to the world."

MUST READ: Cameroon CIvilians Protest Growing Separatist Barbarism, Increasing Violence (VOA)

Dr. Anyouzoa has grounded experience in the development of national public health programs, strategic plans, policies and guidelines in Cameroon, has secured donor and domestic resources, and provided technical support for their implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Dr. Jeanne Anyouzoa is an Educational Commission For Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) board-certified medical doctor with over seven years of work experience in Sub-Saharan Africa. She has successfully provided leadership for health system strengthening and implementation of national communicable and non-communicable diseases, and emergency/trauma programs in Cameroon-West Africa. Dr. Anyouzoa was the abstract poster laureate of the American Academy of Paediatric/Primary Urgent Care (AAP/PUC) conference on Emergency Medicine in Florida in November 2018.

Passionate about addressing social disparities in health care through community outreach, health education, policy development, and advocacy, Dr. Anyouzoa has worked with the University of Washington and King County, Washington State, USA conducting health access and cost-effectiveness research.

Must Reads: Rates of Violence Against Women and Girls Continue to Rise Amid Pandemic

In this week’s Must Readsexploring the methods of gathering true and accurate data on domestic violence in South Africa, Save the Children and their efforts in combatting the rise of sexual violence cases in Venezuela, HRW report finds that LGBTQ+ individuals are more likely to face interpersonal violence during the COVID-19 pandemic, how a group of men are helping to end femicide and VAWG in Mexico3 women who fleed Boko Haram now face jail time and charges in suspicion of being a part of the terrorist group and more.

  1. South Africa. Are we collecting the right amount of data during the COVID-19 pandemic to tell us the whole story on the rates of violence against women in households? “Rigorous studies on the impact of pandemics on levels of violence against women and children are scarce. It’s difficult to ensure the safety of women who are asked to respond to questions about their experiences of abuse, so the accuracy of the information gathered is likely to be questionable.” (Relief Web)
  2. Venezuela. Rates of violence against women and children in their households are spiking in Venezuela, a state already facing a destroyed economy and social crisis. Save the Children, a humanitarian aid organization aimed at improving the lives of children worldwide and providing resources to countries hit by devastating emergencies, has reported that “the majority of cases concern sexual violence against children, and psychological and physical violence against women by their partners.” (Vatican News)
  3. Human Rights Campaign report finds that LGBTQ individuals are more likely to face interpersonal violence, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. “To address the high rate of interpersonal violence in the LGBTQ community, which research shows is likely to increase during COVID-19, HRC is calling on Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), originally passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1994 and reauthorized by strong bipartisan majorities in 2000, 2005, and 2013.” (Human Rights Campaign)
  4. A group of men who want to end femicide rates and violence against women in Mexico. Arturo Reyes, a psychologist and staff member of Gendes, an organization made to help men stop the campaign of violence against women, has seen the spike in calls for support during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Deutsche Welle)
  5. After crossing the border to Nigeria in 2014, in hopes of a better life, three women from Cameroon decided to go back in search of safety during the height of the Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria. Now, they are in limbo, having served over 5 years in jail for being members of the militant group that they tried to escape from. "They were in the wrong place at the wrong time," explains Marie-Lina Samuel, Africa Project Coordinator at the organisation ECPM (Together Against the Death Penalty).” (RFI)


Dr. Anita Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, a gynecologist who works at The Women at Risk International Foundation, a rape crisis center in Lagos, Nigeria, talks on the concerning rates of rape and violence against women in Nigeria and the difficulties that women and girls face as they have to shelter in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Violence against women and girls is one of the most pervasive forms of a human rights violation and should be recognized by all countries," DaSilva-Ibru said.” (CNN)

Damboa. Ten Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents near Damboa, a town in Nigeria’s Borno State. (Sahara Reporters)

Jihadists in NE Nigeria kill 11, others missing. (Ahram Online)

Rape as another pandemic (Guardian NG)