The Importance of Midwives During Conflicts
In conflict zones, getting the basics, such as food, water and shelter, is an ongoing struggle. For pregnant women, it is even more difficult. The environment makes complications more likely, as medical centers are often difficult to reach and women are forced to flee at a moments notice. Aid groups are increasingly relying on midwives to help women in these situations. Midwives are responsible for more than just delivering babies in conflict zones – they also provide longer term birth control to women who may have to flee in the bush for weeks or months at a time. Training midwives is a sustainable approach to tackling the issues of conflict, but it also works post-conflict. Read more here.

Chile’s First Election Featuring Two Female Candidates
Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s first female president (2006-2010) is running against Evelyn Matthei in the upcoming elections. The election is Chile’s first presidential race featuring women representing the major coalitions. Polls have suggested that Bachelet, a former pediatrician with a ‘maternal touch,’ is unstoppable, while support for Matthei is yet to be measured. Read more here.

UN Struggling to Reach Displaced South Sudanese
After recent fighting in the South Sudan state of Jonglei, the UN is trying to coordinate a humanitarian effort to help tens of thousands who have fled to the bush. They believe those people need food now and cannot wait much longer after hiding in the bush for weeks. It has been difficult for aid agencies to reach people in South Sudan in part because of the fighting and in part because of the lack of passable roads. Civilians are afraid to seek medical care in the cities, so it is essential that humanitarian groups are able to reach them. With the latest wave of violence over, there is no word on the number of casualties. Fear of the fighting has been keeping people away from the more populated areas where they had been living, taking a toll on education and work, but the most immediate need is for food. Find out more here.

Afghan Women’s Rights at Risk During Peace Process
Afghan women have made hard-fought gains in education and work since the collapse of the Taliban government in 2001, but there are growing fears that these gains could suffer a reversal due to entrenched patriarchal attitudes. Afghan authorities had promised that women would be able to participate in the peace talks, thereby rejecting Taliban demands for women to be excluded. Although the government has given its word, many are concerned that women’s interests and needs may be compromised because of the patriarchal attitudes. In addition to this, women’s participation in the peace talks is compromised by the fact that there are only nine women in the 70-member High Peace Council. Read the full story here.

Pakistan’s First Woman Superhero
Pakistan has created its first ever female superhero called ‘Burka Avenger,’ who is a response to the Taliban’s oppression on education in the country. The animated series, created by Pakistani pop singer Aaron Haroon Rashid, will have thirteen episodes of the heroine fighting villains with a pen and a book as her weapons. The episodes will center around morals, but will be full of entertainment, laughter, action and adventure, which will send strong messages to kids. The series also sheds light on the Taliban’s rigidity in denying education to girls. Rashid has stated that the burka is not a sign of oppression, it is used to hide the heroine’s identity, just like other superheroes. Find out more here.