Rebecca Kamm

Poking a stick at ladies' issues, pop culture, and other cutting-edge curiosities.

Rebecca Kamm: Hijab-wearing rapper speaks up for women

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Women's World News welcomes you once again. Today: Egypt, Afghanistan, Rome and the UK - grim alerts mixed in with lighter things, as unrolls life just generally.

Rapper Mayam Mahmoud.
Photo / YouTube
Rapper Mayam Mahmoud. Photo / YouTube

Egypt's first veiled rapper should be everywhere by now

Introducing Egypt's first hijab-wearing rapper, Mayam Mahmoud. The 18-year-old rhymes about the issues faced by girls and women in Egypt and has just made it to the semi-finals of Arabs Got Talent. She's been rapping since she was 10, telling the BBC:

"People in my neighbourhood often wonder how a veiled girl sings and shouts like this. My answer to this is very simple - you only look at my veil and my jumping on the stage and overlook what I'm singing about."

I like Mayam Mahmoud SO MUCH. You will too - just click on the link above if you haven't already. It will transport you through the internet to a brief BBC interview with the rapper, complete with footage of her TV performance.

CLICK! CLICK! Come on!

(Also, can anyone translate her lyrics? Google's not coming to the party.)

Women's rights in Afghanistan slide backwards

The Afghan government has said it is considering a draft proposal to reintroduce public stoning to death as a punishment for adultery. Advocacy group Human Rights Watch first broke news of the proposal, which - in theory - would apply to men and women equally. In reality, as noted by the Wall Street Journal:

"Women often bear the brunt of traditional justice in Afghanistan. Last year, a woman accused of adultery in Parwan province, north of the capital, was publicly shot to death. Human rights advocates also say women are often jailed for 'moral crimes,' such as fleeing forced marriages or domestic abuse."

Last month, independent NGO The International Crisis Group released a thorough report on women's position in Afghanistan, titled "Women and Conflict in Afghanistan". It is long but interesting.

The vatican says NO

People eager to see female priests (as in, see them become an actual, mainstream thing; not just spot them like wild birds) are pointing to some newly restored frescoes in Rome as proof there were women priests in early Christianity.

But Professor Fabrizio Bisconti, "superintendent of religious heritage archaeological sites owned by the Vatican", immediately stamped on their hope and told the press quite superintendently that: "This is a fairy tale, a legend."

However, you can decide for yourself by visiting the Catacombs of Priscilla via Google Maps, which is genuinely amazing, and more exciting than where you're sitting right now.

"Clare's Law" moves into England and Wales

New legislation designed to help protect victims of domestic violence from their partners is being implemented across England and Wales.
Named after Clare Wood, who was murdered in 2009 by her ex-boyfriend George Appleton, "Clare's Law" allows women who feel threatened to request their partner's domestic violence record (if any) from the police.

Clare Wood had no idea that Appleton had a violent past - and despite the fact she had already reported him for harassment and sexual assault, it took Greater Manchester police a full 24 hours to respond to her emergency call. During which time she was strangled and set on fire.

Opinion on Clare's Law isn't entirely positive, with some wondering what good it will do without an overhaul of police complacency around domestic abuse, and others concerned it places the onus on victims, rather than the agencies appointed to look out for them.

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