Your week in women's news: ISIS, healthcare and Nabra Hassenen's murder

The World
Saudi women journalists raise hands at press conference for US Secretary of State John Kerry

Saudi women journalists raise their hands to ask a question as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speak to members of the media at King Salman Regional Air Base in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia,

REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin

Hi, and welcome to my weekly column for Across Women's Lives at PRI's The World. Sign up here to get this in your weekly inbox. 

As I write, ISIS is losing major ground in northern Iraq, and on the front lines of covering that dangerous story have been a lot of women journalists, including CBS’s Holly Williams, CNN’s Arwa Damon and French TV’s Veronique Robert. Robert died this week in Paris after being badly wounded by a mine explosion in Mosul that also took the lives of two of her colleagues.

For years, ISIS and its many supporters across the Arab world have represented one of the darkest threats to women in modern times. However, they’re on the back foot now, losing territory and revenue — and Kurdish female fighters are playing a role in this defeat, as are Syrian women reporters and activists and the Yazidi women who stood up against ISIS, like Nadia Murad.

In other news this week, the Senate health care overhaul bill — created by 13 male Republicans and zero women — didn’t get very far. This is in large part because of a lack of support from female Republican lawmakers.  Lesson learned to be more inclusive? Let’s see.

And I'm still following the murder of Nabra Hassanen. Police announced on Wednesday that days before Hassanen's murder, the current suspect in the case was arrested after being accused of punching, kicking and sexually assaulting another woman. The victim didn’t press charges and the suspect was released.

Data shows that violence against women should be a bigger story — and we shouldn’t lose sight of it in this case. Violence against woman is a gateway offense to terrorism, homicide and other conflict, research increasingly shows. Oppression of women is not a separate thing — it's linked to a host of social ills, and making those connections is part of our job as reporters investigating issues that impact women. What are your thoughts on this? Drop me a note:

This weekend, check out my favorite new column — a fun, smart take on Islam and sex at It may shatter your stereotypes about sexual pleasure, the Quran and the Muslim world, and there’s no one better to walk the tightrope of controversial topics than activist, writer and peace advocate (and friend!) Manal Omar. Read her thoughts here.

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warm regards, Christina