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ISRAEL/PALESTINE: Israeli and Palestinian Women Launch Joint Arts and Crafts Businesses in Effort to Promote Reconciliation, Peace

As the sun set over Jerusalem, about one hundred women milled around tables covered with hand-made crafts. There were delicate earrings, hand-embroidered shawls, olive wood jewelry boxes and brightly colored ceramic bowls. There was chatter in Hebrew and Arabic and a lot of laughter.

PALESTINE: All-Female Party to Run in Palestinian Elections

A new group running for municipal elections in Hebron is offering residents an alternative to politics as usual in the conservative West Bank city: Women at the helm, instead of men.

The all-female list, which is called “By Participating, We Can,” is gearing up for next month's vote with a campaign that aims both to win at the polls and to convince voters that women can lead just as well as men.

IRAQ: Women Organization Helped Bring Down Trafficking Chain in Iraq

Security forces in Iraq have arrested Eman ”Dakhiliya”, who run one of the worse trafficking chains in Baghdad. Her criminal network, involved in sexual slavery, has also been dispersed. This is a huge victory for the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq, OWFI, who has campained against her for a long time.

PAKISTAN: Call to Ensure Voting Rights for Dir Women

Speaking at a news conference at the Timergara Press Club, a group of NGOs' representatives led by Akbar Khan alleged all political and religious parties had been responsible for barring women from voting in Dir in the past.

AFGHANISTAN: First Female Village Chief in Afghanistan Defies Gender Roles

After being ridiculed by male villagers for wanting to occupy political office, Zarifa Qazizadah, the mother of 15 children, managed to become the mayor of Naw Abad, a village in the northern Balkh province.

Qazizadah's political ambition started in 2004 when she told her mocking fellow villagers that she wanted to represent them and promised to supply Naw Abad with electricity.

SRI LANKA: Special Message to Sri Lanka From Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Leymah

2011 Nobel peace prize was given jointly to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, Tawakkol Karman, a democratic activist and Lemah Gbowee , peace activist for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and women's rights by peace-building work.

PAKISTAN: Steps Urged to Discourage Early Marriages

This was stated by participants of a workshop here on Monday.

They said Pakistanis were more involved in forced marriages as compared to people of other Muslim countries. Even in Europe, member of the Pakistani community force their daughters to marry a man of their choice, creating embarrassment for the community.

AFGHANISTAN: Struggling for Representation in the Peace Process

Persistent discrimination has prohibited women from garnering a greater role in the design and implementation of the peace process. The Programme's gender policy, introduced in September 2011, seeks to ensure women's participation in decision-making at the strategic/political level through the High Peace Council (reconciliation) and at the operational level through gender-mainstreaming in local peace processes (reintegration).

OCEANIA: Forum Takes Major Step for Empowering Women in Pacific

Long-term funding by the Australian government has been underpinned by a clear commitment from the heads of Pacific states to exercise their leadership in supporting gender equality.

This has the potential to be a huge step forward.

Hopefully this Forum meeting will be a defining moment when real progress can be initiated.

KURDISTAN: Iraqi Kurdistan Govt Failing to Enforce FGM law - HRW

Women and girls in Iraq's Kurdistan region continue to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) because the local government is failing to enforce a law banning the practice, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.

The provision against FGM was part of a 2011 landmark law - the Family Violence Law - to tackle violence against women in the autonomous region in northern Iraq.