Saudi Women at the Helm: Beneficiaries of the Arab Spring

For the past two years, sweeping political changes in parts of the Middle East have had a profound impact on socio-cultural and legal traditions. Arab women have been at the forefront of this change, exercising their rights as political citizens and raising their voices against injustices within their own countries and in support of others across the region. Recent developments, however, suggest that while the Gulf states (excluding Bahrain) have remained largely untouched by revolutionary … [Read more...]

“The Light in Her Eyes” Sheds Some Light on the Women of Syria

We are bombarded with images from Syria every day — flashing across our television screens and updating in our Facebook newsfeeds. They are horrific pictures of the carnage left in the aftermath of massacres. It has been over a year now since the beginning of the Syrian uprising and there seems to be no relief from the continuing assaults on the Syrian people. At a time when we risk becoming desensitized to this ongoing horror, it is important to truly see the people in the images playing out in … [Read more...]

First Lady Dictators Are Not Sexy Headlines

Exactly a year ago on March 15th, the official day of Syrian uprising, I wrote about the Vogue feature on Syrian first-lady Asma al-Assad, which glamorized the haute couture-clad co-dictator while painting a painful picture of a woman genuinely fighting, on her own terms, for “democracy” in Syria.  The piece itself could not have been scheduled for a more opportune time: the so-called Arab world was, at the time, experiencing a wave of uprisings challenging old but adamant self-appointed kings wh … [Read more...]

Revisiting the Revolution: How Far Have Egyptian Women Come?

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011: the day thousands of Egyptians—Christians and Muslims, men and women, young and old—lined the streets of Tahrir Square in non-violent, civil-resistance in attempt to overthrow the regime of then President, Hosni Mubarak.A year later, Wikipedia hosts a page titled “2011 Egyptian Revolution;” Egyptians mourn the loss of their sons, brothers, and husbands; and Americans have moved on to follow the never-ceasing Republican debates with hardly an indication of Egyp … [Read more...]

For Arab Women, Change in the Digital Reality is Coming, but Slowly

By all standards, 2011 was quite an exceptional year for men and women in the Arab world. It was a year of dramatic transitions marked by the so-called Arab Spring of political democratization and social emancipation. It all started in Tunisia, going through Egypt and Libya in the West, and continuing to drag on in both Yemen and Syria in the East. An interesting facet of those transitions related to the role of social media platforms as drivers of revolutions, giving rise  to different … [Read more...]

From Iranian Women to Egyptian Women?

Shortly after the results of the first stage of the Egyptian parliament elections, everyone started to freak out.  After the majority win of Islamist parties Al-Nahda party in Tunisia and the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in Egypt, memories from Sudan in 1989, Gaza in 2006, and, most importantly, Iran in 1979 came to mind.Iranian women’s rights activists have been sending warning messages to women from both countries, including seminars dedicated to the topic.  Dr. Susan Rakhsh, an Ira … [Read more...]

MMW 2011 Year in Review: News

As 2011 draws to a close, we at MMW are looking back at our year of posts.  For those who missed posts earlier in the year, or for those who want to look back through some of the things we wrote about, we’ll be going through some of those through the rest of this week.  Today, we’re starting off with an overview of some of the news highlights that we talked about in 2011; tomorrow will look at books, movies, and television; and Friday will look at some of the more ridiculous stories that came up, … [Read more...]