About Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is a journalist, writer, and co-editor of openDemocracy 50.50. She is completing a PhD on the 2011 Egyptian revolution and holds an MA focusing on Balkan studies. Her latest book Literary Freedom: a Cultural Right to Literature was published in December 2013.  Follow her on twitter @heathermcrobie 

 

Articles by Heather McRobie

This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

Listen to Bosnia's plenums

After almost twenty years of stagnant purgatory under the Dayton constitution, it is Bosnians themselves who are building democracy, from the ground up.

Still 'Our Man in Havana': foreign policy reporting's elitism problem

Foreign policy reporting in the British media is dominated by an elite and a false neutrality presenting a particular ideology simply as authoritative.  What is used as an argument for diversity is also a sign of Britain’s colonial hangover, and the unexamined question of who is positioned as the voice of reason. 

Martha Nussbaum, empathy, and the moral imagination

The emphasis in Martha Nussbaum’s work on the importance of the emotions in moral philosophy also posits that story-telling plays a central role in expanding our empathy and as such is a necessary part of a just society.

Gender violence in the media: elusive reality

The death of Reeva Steenkamp has highlighted the problematic way in which the media treat the issue of domestic violence.  We need a better way to transmit and therefore tackle the reality – how violence is built into our lives and how space is gendered, says Heather McRobie.

Trojan Women in the twenty first century: women in war from Euripides to Syria

Last December, a small group of volunteers organised a production of ‘Trojan Women’ with female Syrian refugees now living in Jordan.  Heather McRobie speaks to two of the organisers about how art speaks to those who have survived conflict, and the significance of ‘Trojan Women’ in a modern context of women’s experiences of war.

Egypt: a tale of two constitutions

Reading the 2012 and 2013 Egyptian constitutions together is less a tale of successive steps towards constitutional democracy and more an illustration of how the revolution was lost in two successive jolts – first Morsi’s Islamism without legitimacy, and then the violent militarism that accompanied Morsi’s removal from power.

Austerity policies in Europe are fuelling social injustice - and violating human rights

A new report by the Council of Europe provides detailed evidence that austerity measures have corroded civil and political rights and made economic, social and cultural rights less attainable.  Will the governments of Europe recognise the social cost of austerity – and can ‘human rights’ work as a tool of resistance?

Austerity and domestic violence: mapping the damage

Austerity has taken its toll on domestic violence provisions, in a fracturing that cuts across institutions, sectors and lives in the UK

When the judge is a woman

Redressing the historical and structural male domination of judicial systems requires that we consider the impact of gender on judges, citizens, and the text of law itself. Reflections on the conversations at the ‘le juge est une femme’ conference at the Université libre de Bruxelles.

She Left Me the Gun: on story-telling and re-telling

Emma Brockes’ exploration of her mother’s life in South Africa, and what made her leave, is also a study in writing the complexity of women’s lives, and the powerful and elusive nature of story-telling.

Literature, empathy and the moral imagination

Great works of literature are often love-letters to the form itself, but moral philosophy has rarely taken story-telling seriously. The work of Martha Nussbaum shows that the novel is key to social justice, through the role that reading plays in developing our moral imagination

Slavenka Drakulić: violence, memory, and the nation

Writer and journalist Slavenka Drakulić reflects on the use of sexual violence in war, the psyche in conflict, and the gap between official history and personal memory in the former Yugoslavia.

Is gendered austerity finally on the political agenda?

The 2013 Green Party conference made women and austerity one of its themes, while a new report from the Women’s Budget Group calls for a ‘Plan F’ to tackle the impact of the crisis on women's lives.  Is gendered austerity finally gaining the attention of political parties?

From Morsi to Sisi: the evolution of targeting journalists in Egypt

One of the only consistencies in Egypt, from the Mubarak era through to the SCAF period to Morsi’s rule to the tumultuous summer of 2013, has been encroachments on press freedom and attacks on journalists.  But there have been subtle shifts in how journalists have been targeted, and attacks are becoming more systematic.

The unsafe house of Italy: violence against women does not break for summer

Italy has just passed a new law offering better protection for victims of domestic violence.  But will this be enough to work against the damaging effect of under-funded safe houses and public figures who still blame women for their abuse?

The British justice system: a fair structure for women?

Britain has one of the lowest percentages of female judges in Europe.  What are the consequences of this disparity for the justice system, and what must be done to make British justice gender equal?

From the war on terror to austerity: a lost decade for women and human rights

Patriarchy, militarism and neoliberalism have created a matrix in which women and women’s rights can never flourish because none of them place human values and human dignity at their core. Heather McRobie reflects on the conversations at the Nobel Women's Initiative conference in Belfast.

What sex means for world peace

Speaking at the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference, Valerie Hudson argues that best predictor of a state’s peacefulness is how well its women are treated. Little analysed in international relations theory, state security and women’s security are inextricably linked. Heather McRobie reports from Belfast

Patriarchy and militarism in Egypt: from the street to the government

The lack of institutional concern for epidemic levels of sexual harassment and assault in Egypt is part of the larger neglect of the issue of gender equality by the post-revolutionary powers, says Heather McRobie. 

Will academia ever graduate from sexism?

From the sexism of fresher’s week to under-employment after they graduate, to the closed walls of the highest echelons of academic institutions, Britain is failing its female students - even as their grades continue to rise

The February 15, 2003 protest ten years on: reflections on a decade

The demonstration on February 15, 2003 was the largest protest march in British history, but failed to stop the invasion of Iraq.  A reflection on how the protest, and the war, shaped a decade of politics and culture.

Women in the US military – uncomfortable power

Last week saw the lifting of the ban on women in combat in the US military.  How will this change the dynamics within and perceptions of the American military, and will it help reduce the current epidemic levels of sexual harassment and sexual assault within the armed forces?

Diary of a constitutional crisis

Just over a week before my scheduled arrival in Cairo to research the constitution-drafting process, President Morsi triggered perhaps the most significant crisis since the fall of Mubarak.

Tariq Ramadan interviewed post-Arab spring

We are making a mistake, a very big mistake if we look at what we call the Arab Awakening only by looking at the whole dynamics in political and not in economic terms.

The Handmaid's Tale of Coalition Britain

Jeremy Hunt's recently-voiced and ill-founded opinion on abortion adds insult to injury. Coalition austerity policies and attacks on women's rights mean that day by day Britain is becoming no country for women.

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