Women’s rights on the agenda in Palestine >>
“By taking part, we can do it!” This was the slogan when Maysoun Qawasme and her 11 women co-candidates stood as independents in the recent local elections held in The West Bank. Although the votes they received were insufficient to secure them seats on the city council, they continue in their fight for women’s rights. “This is merely the beginning”, tells Maysoun Qawasme.
Jordanian puppeteers setting the stage for dialogue >>
Papier-mâché dolls and shadow puppets are joining forces to perform a play intended on getting Jordanian women and men to reflect on what women and men can and should do with their lives. The Dafa Puppet Theatre visits a group of Jordanian women, who watch the play and discuss gender, their own capabilities and the fight for completely free choice for women.
Switch on the TV – the cultural revolution is stirring >>
Whilst tangible political progress for women in the Arab world seems to on the slide, Arabic satellite TV is gently pushing forward gender and identity.
Women’s lives told through the medium of embroidery >>
Personal stories are woven into Palestinian embroidery – stories that both challenge and surprise young Danish women. Expertise and information sharing were the buzzwords when students from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of design (Designskolen) and students from the Palestinian Fashion and Textile Institute first met with women from various handicraft cooperatives in Palestine.
'The revolution is not over when the president has left' >>
With their incontrovertible actions in a revolution that continues to rage, Syrian women have categorically won the right to representation and equality after the revolution, believes Maan Abdul Salam, Syrian activist and founder/owner of a now defunct book café and library in Damascus. But such efforts can all too easily be forgotten as the process of reform takes time – and always longer than expected, according to the man who gave up his job with BBC World to become a full-time campaigner for equality and women’s rights.
Palestinian girls get a taste for creating computer games >>
More women in the computer industry please! This is the call of games designer Andrea Hasselager and sound designer Nevin Eronde. So, when the women heard about the rapid growth in the Middle East they decided to set up workshops for girls in Palestine. The aim of their project was to bring more women into the computer games industry from the very start – and the industry needs women in order to ensure a greater variation in computer games in the years to come.
Increased information against gender-based violence >>
In the wake of the Arab revolutions, no improvement has been made in terms of women’s security or their protection against gender-related violence. This was the broad consensus when the leaders of women’s shelters from across the MENA region met up with their Danish colleagues for a two-day workshop arranged by KVINFO. The participants used the workshop, which was held at Copenhagen’s Black Diamond royal library, to look to the future, discuss new perspectives and plan international collaboration.
Huda Lutfi – redefining ‘Egyptian’ >>
Egyptian art is much more than the classic artefacts of the pharaohs and works that tow the tight state line, points out DJ, music critic and composer Katrine Ring. She recommends that we take a look into the much broader and more internationally oriented Egyptian art scene reflected in the book Huda Lutfi – a book which also portrays an interesting contemporary artist, who is striving to push the boundaries of social cultural norms, religion and artistic form.
The women of Syria – forgotten by the world >>
For three years, Mouna Ghanem was the official spokesperson for the women of Syria – now she is leading an opposition group in the revolt against the government. She is a vehement critic of the international society for its turning a blind eye to the consequences Syria’s civil war is having on the country’s women and girls.
Villains and victims – minorities fight stereotypes >>
Ethnic-minority men are often portrayed as good-for-nothing villains, whereas ethnic-minority women are viewed as victims. Now, the new book ‘Stemmer fra en bydel. Etnicitet, køn og klasse i Aalborg Øst’ (‘Voices from an Inner-City Neighbourhood: Ethnicity, Gender and Class in Aalborg East’), written by Professor Ann-Dorte Christensen and Associate Professor Sune Qvotrup Jensen paints a very different picture. KVINFO’s web magazine has spoken with the researchers, both from Aalborg University, about the Aalborg East (an inner-city area in Aalborg, Denmark’s fourth-largest city located in the Northern part of Jutland) and about the blind spots of Danish society, with particularly focus on adult men with ethnic-minority backgrounds.
Egyptian women rewriting history >>
At the Women and Memory Forum in Cairo, work is being undertaken to write Egyptian women into history. Both the country’s history and popular narrative are literally being rewritten with a focus on gender and equality. The new challenge will be to write women into Egypt’s upcoming constitution.
Fighting for Egypt’s women's rights – now is time to act! >>
“The Egyptian revolution is back to square one”, tells Maguie Mahrouds, Egyptian politician and activist. Following the chaotic political events of the past few weeks, she can see only more reasons for working to achieve better education for girls, women’s quotas in the parliament and a better organised civil society – not least better organisation among the women.
Abuse of religion - Libya's women's major challenge >>
The young Libyan women’s rights campaigner Alaa Murabit considers the greatest hurdle for women’s rights across the Arab world to be her religion. But she also believes that religion can be these women’s greatest strength – if they use it correctly.
The photographer shows what the eye cannot see >>
Tanya Habjouqa has always had a problem with the generalisation and homogeneity in mainstream news reporting. To redress this, this Jordanian-American news photographer re-focussed her lens and zoomed in on stories about gender, sexuality, diversity and human rights – all told through the medium of photography.
Women rally drivers of the West Bank >>
As pioneers in their field, they themselves have no role models to look up to; nevertheless, the Palestinian Speed sisters are intent on becoming role models for other young women. They aim to show that femininity, speed and fearlessness can in fact go hand in hand.
Reaching out of the screen into reality >>
For the fourth time, a network of young women bloggers gathered together to showcase their ‘work’ at a Danish-Arab culture festival. Their first meeting was in Cairo back in 2010. Here is a report from their latest meeting in Beirut in February 2012.
One year after the women took to the streets of Yemen >>
Spring was in the air – as was an atmosphere of equality – when the women of Yemen took to the streets in protest during last year’s disturbances. But revolution has since faded into normality, and today the advocates of women’s rights in the country are challenged by increasing political Islamification. Ramzia Al-Eryani and Bilkis Zabara are two of the women, representing the activist movement and the academic world respectively, who are working to change the future for Yemeni women.
Mentoring: the unstoppable success >>
Simple, inexpensive and effective. When women share their experiences and advice with other women, doors start opening – in areas ranging from new employment opportunities to increased political influence.
Political power: where do women stand today? >>
Young, rebellious women became the face of the Arab Spring. But as spring gave way to a summer of elections, the women’s influence had dwindled. Moroccan professor and political analyst Fatima Sadiqi believes that the reason for this is the way the authority of men and the authority of women exist in the public space.
Tawakkul – Yemen’s Mahatma Gandhi >>
“Women must realise that they themselves are the ones responsible for ensuring their rights. The future belongs to women, and the only way ahead is forward. Equal rights for men and women is the pillar upon which the future must be built.” These are the words of human rights activist and journalist Tawakkul Karman, the first Arab woman recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. She was speaking in Copenhagen on 16 April at KVINFO’s conference ‘Women in a Changing Middle East and North Africa – Facing Challenges and Seizing Opportunities’. Following her speech at the conference, we talked to Tawakkul Karman.