Empowered Women in the Age of the Harem

“Backwards” is the word often associated with pre-modern ages, and “oppression” is the word that comes to our minds first when we describe the state of women during those ages. Thank God we live in the modern age where human rights activism has brought women rights that they’ve never had before. Right?Sorry to shake your beliefs, but there existed times where pre-modern women (in Egypt in particular and the Middle East in general) were granted rights that modern women strive to acquire in man … [Read more...]

Saudi Women at the Helm: Beneficiaries of the Arab Spring

A Saudi ad against domestic abuse. [Source].

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...]

Film Review: Solar Mamas

Rafea. [Source].

Last week, PBS aired the premiere of Solar Mamas, an inspiring documentary of one woman's journey to transform her life after being offered the opportunity to become a solar-energy engineer.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGMgHZ1WzxARafea Ehnad is a 32-year-old mother, and a second wife to an unemployed husband; she lives in one of Jordan’s poorest desert villages. With only five years of formal education, she used to spend her days living off a meagre government assistance fund in a d … [Read more...]

Apple and its Islamophobic Thesaurus

Apple Computer’s 1997 “Think different” campaign. Image courtesy of Apple. Source: Wired.com

This post was written by guest contributor Arwa Aburawa.About a week ago, I was sitting in a cafe talking to a new acquaintance about racism. The person in question had worked on issues of race and racism for some time and I would say is a lot more clued up about the tensions and insidious forms of racism than I am. Even so, I was a little shocked to hear her say that she preferred the outward racism of her childhood than today's hidden-behind-a-smile-racism. Personally, I didn't want to go … [Read more...]

Inheritance Rights in Islam: Islamic Policies in Muslim and Secular States, Legal Systems and Media

During the past week, inheritance according to the precepts of Shari’ah was a hot topic around the world, from Australia and Pakistan to Tunisia and Malaysia. An overview of the system is available in this article, although, as always, there is much diversity both in specific understandings of inheritance laws and in broader understandings of what “Shari’ah” is.  A few days ago, Jamila Hussain wrote an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, discussing issues of equity vs. equality in inherit … [Read more...]

Who Will Defend the Defenders? Gambian Activists Face Smear Campaign

Dr. Isatou Touray and Amie Bojang Sissoho are two prominent women’s human rights defenders in the Gambia. They are the executive director and program coordinator of the Gambia Committee for Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), which has been active in fighting for the promotion of gender rights, mainly fighting against the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM).Recently, both women were arrested and imprisoned by the Gambian government. They were recently released on bail and stand trial s … [Read more...]

Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves…But Nobody Seems to Notice

Recently, Ahmedinejad’s closest aide, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, made comments that Iran must work to fight against the oppression of women where the religious framework of Islam would allow it. The Guardian article calls women’s rights a divisive topic in Iran, which is true. However, the sexist laws mentioned are those that involve the requirement to cover following the 1979 Islamic revolution, failing to mention inequalities in other areas, such as personal status laws.  This reduces the revo … [Read more...]


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