Who are the feminists in the Arab world and beyond?

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May. 20, 2016

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Who are the feminists in the Arab world and beyond?

  1. To be a feminist in the Arab world today A few examples of freedom fighters
  2. The historic ones
  3. Islam started with strong women • Khadija: the first muslim • Fatima: the fighter • Aisha: the mother of all believers
  4. Kahina was a Berber queen from 7th century • A religious and military leader who led indigenous resistance to Arab Islamic expansion in Northwest Africa, the region then known as Numidia. • She died around the end of the 7th century in modern- day Algeria. • Also called Daya,Dehiya, Dihya.
  5. The icons
  6. Huda Shaarawi was one of the first outspoken female activists in Egypt • 1879 – 1947: Pioneering Egyptian feminist leader, nationalist, and founder of the Egyptian Feminist Union. • She openly challenged the traditional perceptions of womenin Egyptian culture as well as the lack of women’s participation in public and political spheres. • In 1919 Huda organized an anti-British demonstration which brought Egyptian womenout the streets in a show of both women’s solidarity and nationalist protest against the colonial existence. • Sha`arawi made a decision to stop wearing her veil in public after her husband's death in 1922.
  7. Doria Chafic sets up Bint El Nil, Nile’s daughter in Egypt • She organized a demonstration in 1951 of 1.500 women in front of the Parlament asking deputies to grant women their rights. • The following week, the Assembly grants women the right to vote. • 1956: Unique party of Nasser accedes to power: Emprisons Dora Chafic. • She will commit suicide in 1975.
  8. Nawal Saadaoui, "the Simone de Beauvoir of the Arab World" • Nawal El Saadawi is an Egyptian feminist writer, activist, physician and psychiatrist. She has written many books on the subject of women in Islam, paying particular attention to the practice of female genital mutilation in her society. • In 1972 she published Woman and Sex ( ‫ةأﺮﻤﻟا‬‫ﺲﻨﺠﻟاو‬ ), confronting and contextualising various aggressions perpetrated against women's bodies, including female circumcision.
  9. And many more… • In Iran, there was Taj Al-Saltana--her autobiography, which was written around 1914, is the earliest known example of Iranian's women's autobiography. Her writings revealed, among other things, the importance of the role played by women in the harem in influencing the state of affairs. Later she helped to establish the "Society for the Emancipation of Women". Her writings proposed a feminist nationalism. • In Iraq, Laila of Shaiban-Bakr, a poet from the 8th century, was known for her rejection of a centralized state in favor of an egalitarian stystem of government. In pre-Islamic times, women participated in tribal warfare on the Arabian peninsula. With the advent of Islam, women did not relinquishh their place on the battlefield. She was an early female warrior.
  10. The polemic ones
  11. Newsweek magazine named Ms Eltahawy one of its "150 Fearless Women of 2012" • Mona Eltahawy is an award-winning columnist and international public speaker on Arab and Muslim issues and global feminism. She is based in Cairo and New York City. • She wrote the polemic essay: Why do they hate us?
  12. Joumana Haddad is a Lebanese poet, translator, journalist and women's rights activist • She has been selected as one of the world’s 100 most powerful Arab women for three years in a row by Arabian Business Magazine for her cultural and social activism. • She is founder of Jasad, a quarterly Arabic-language magazine.
  13. Fadi Zaghmout’s novel The Bride of Amman is a sharp and sensitive exposé of Jordanian society through the voices of young people constrained by conservatism and blatant discrimination.
  14. Or the Iraki Akdass al- Moulouk… • …who is the first woman to recite the Quran on CD, lives in Paris for 40 years and wishes to see women imams or muezzins.
  15. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a Dutch-American activist, author, and former politician of Somali origin • She is a leading opponent of female genital mutilation, and calls for a reformation of Islam. • She is supportive of women's rights and is an atheist. • Her latest book was released in 2015 and is called: Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now.
  16. The Irani Chahdortt Djavann • The writer is extremely critical of muslim integrism, and “thosewho wish to impose their totalitarian vision of a political and proselyt islam.” • She considers the critic of religions as non negotiable and invites the immense majority of French silent Muslims to demonstrate against this ideology.
  17. The activists
  18. Zahra' Langhi is the cofounder of Libyan Women’s Platform for Peace (LWPP), a movement advocating for women’s socio- political empowerment and peace-building
  19. Murabit founded The Voice of Libyan Women in August 2011
  20. Salwa Bughaighis was a Libyan human rights and political activist • She was assassinated in Benghazi, Libya on 25 June 2014.
  21. Lina Ben Mhenni is a Tunisian who blogs as A Tunisian Girl • She rose to prominence during the Tunisian revolution of 2011. She was nominated for the Nobel peace prize. • She is currently threatened by the islamists in her country.
  22. Amira Yahyaoui created an NGO, Al Bawsala, which is monitoring the constitutional assembly and advocating for human rights. • In Tunisia, 27-year-old blogger Amira Yahyaoui has been a tireless advocate for freedom of expressionfor over a decade. She comes from a family of human rights activists; when she was 16, her father, a judge, was forced from his job for speaking out against then-President Ben Ali. • She also launched the Tunisian Parliament Monitor to protect the free expressionof the Tunisian people. As she says, “We have this huge responsibilityto show to the world, and to the Arab world, that we can succeed. Even if we are focusing in Tunisia, we are doing it for the entire region.”
  23. Hooria Mashhour Yemen’s Human rights minister • A veteran human rights activist, Hooria Mashhour became Yemen’s first post-revolution human rights minister in 2012. She’s also a former member of the Joint Meeting Parties, but now defines herself as an independent.
  24. Hala Shukralah is the first woman to head a political party in Egypt • Women and Coptic Christians (who form around 10% of the otherwise Muslim population) have historically been largely marginalised from politics. • But Shukrallah's election hints that this may slowly be starting to change, partly thanks to a shift in national consciousnesscreated by the 2011 revolution,which encouraged people to challenge social structures. • “Here and there, you can find similar signs. In December, leftist physician Mona Mina became the first woman to be elected head of Egypt's influential doctors' syndicate, a group led for years by male conservative Islamists.”
  25. TED Fellow Shereen El Feki works on issues related to health and social welfare in the Arab region -- including intimate attitudes toward sexual (and political) freedoms, as explored in her new book, Sex and the Citadel. • In Flaubert's time, and in the age of the Prophet himself, both Westerners and Arabs saw Arabic culture as unabashedly sensual and sexual, and not un-Islamic for that. • In contrast, Christian Europe stood for rejection and repression of the sexual joys of this life for the glory of the afterlife.
  26. Malika Mokeddem, an Algerian Tuareg writer
  27. Diala Isid, Palestinian Marathon organizer promoting gender equity
  28. And Many More…
  29. Forugh Farrokhzad was an Iranian poet and film director. Forugh Farrokhzad is arguablyone of Iran's most influential female poets of the 20th century.She was a controversial modernistpoetand an iconoclast Fadwa Tuqan (1917 in Nablus – 2003),was well known for her representationsof resistance to Israeli occupation in contemporary Arabpoetry. Djamila Bouhired is an Algerian militant. Bouhired is a nationalistwho opposedthe French colonialrule of Algeria. She was raised in a middle-class family,having attended a French school.
  30. Soumaya Naamane Guessous is a Moroccan sociologist,a so-called "champion"of women's rights and columnist.She is best known as authorof the book Au- delà de toute pudeur,first published in 1988,aboutthe sexuallife of Moroccan women. Pınar Selek is a Turkish sociologist,feminist,and author.She is known for her work on the rights of vulnerablecommunities in Turkey,including women,the poor, street children,sexual minorities, and Kurdish communities. Maryam Mirzakhaniis an Iranian mathematician,the first woman to ever win the Fields Medal– known as the "Nobel Prize of mathematics" – in recognition of her contributions to the understanding of the symmetry of curved surfaces.
  31. And many men as well…
  32. Ali ibn nasr el katib Encyclopedia of Pleasure • The Encyclopedia of Pleasure is the earliest extant Arabic erotic work, written in the 10th- century by the medieval Arab writer Ali ibn Nasr al- Katib. 43 chapters of all possible sexual practices… • The Encyclopedia of Pleasure contains the book Jawami' al-ladhdha, which described erotic gay and lesbian love. • It quotes and refers to several named and unnamed poets, writers, philosophers and physicians. • One of the most famous and more frequently cited writers was Abu Nuwas. Some consider him to be "the father of Arab erotic poetry". Sculpture: Ghada Amer
  33. Tahar Haddad writes “The Tunisian woman” in 1930 • Haddad was a feminist. In the 1930 book Our Women in the Shari 'a and Society he advocated for expanded rights for women and said that the interpretations of Islam at the time inhibited women. • He explains how nothing in the sharia is opposed to the access of women to edication, personal freedom and participation to public life. • His throughts will be at the base of the « Code du Statut Personnel » (CSP) of 1956 which grants women exceptional rights in the Arab world.
  34. Fethi Benslama, Tunisian writer, analyses the link between islam and psychoanalysis
  35. Malek Chebel is an Algerian philosopher and anthropologist of religions • He is known for his reflections about Islam, its culture, its history, intellectual life, and its erotism. • He is also famous for his public positions for a liberal Islam, and for its reform. • He reminds us how women like Khadidja at the originof Islam were independent and how the integral veil appeared in Saudi Arabia in the XIXe century under the wahhabi influence: ”If a woman has to be veiled to be muslim, what happens with the millions of unveiled women during 14 centuries?” • The Quran does not say anything on virginity(6 of the 10 wives of the prophet were not virgins) and this custom has been adopted from the traditional partiarchal beduin customs.
  36. The islamic feminists
  37. Islamic feminism is a form of feminism concerned with the role of women in Islam • It aims for the full equality of all Muslims,regardless of gender, in public and private life. Islamic feminists advocate women's rights, gender equality, and social justice groundedin an Islamic framework. • Although rooted in Islam, the movement's pioneers have also utilised secular, Western, or otherwise non-Muslimfeminist discourses, and have recognized the role of Islamic feminism as part of an integrated global feminist movement. • Advocates of the movement seek to highlight the deeply rooted teachings of equality in the religion and to encourage a questioning of the patriarchal interpretation of Islamic teaching through the Quran, Hadith (sayings of Muhammad) and sharia (law) towards the creation of a more equal and just society.
  38. In the 1990s, the term "Islamic feminism" made its appearance in different parts of the world and in various contexts • 'Liberated' Muslim females • In 1992, Shahla Sherkat, an Iranian who took part in the revolution of 1979, published the first issue of a feminist magazine, "Zanan" (meaning women in Farsi). The magazine is now banned. • In 1996, a Saudi woman named Mai Yamani published "Feminism and Islam," a book that went down in history. • In Turkey, academics believe a new type of feminism has emerged that is nourished by faith. Meanwhile in the West, female activists freed themselves from secular feminism and jointly asserted their female rights as Muslims of foreign origin. • Determined to obtain full equality without abandoning their faith, many Muslim women — who are no longer satisfied with traditional Islamic discourse — have begun to dismantle the edifice of religious patriarchy. • According to those who follow the Islamic feminist movement, female Muslims see two things standing in the way of their emancipation. On the one hand, they find a conservative Islam that prevents women from having access to religious knowledge and hampers the achievement of the equality prescribed by the Quran. On the other, there is what they call "colonial feminism," which was born in the North and was laced with Orientalism. This type of feminism dictates to the women of the South the manners and framework of their emancipation, arguing that it is impossible to be both subject to God and freed from the power of men. “These are two essentialist discourses, which, ironically, come together and share the same definition of Islam and the same definition of feminism,” Ali jokes. SOURCE
  39. Moroccan Fatima Mernissi was largely concerned with Islam and women's roles in it
  40. Leila Ahmed (born 1940) is an Egyptian American writer on Islam and Islamic feminism • In her seminal work, Womenand Gender in Islam (1992), Ahmed argues that the oppressive practices to which womenin the Middle East are subjected are caused by the prevalence of patriarchal interpretations of Islam rather than Islam itself. • Islamic doctrine developed within an androcentric, misogynist society, that of Abbasid Iraq, the customs of which were largely inherited from the Sasanian Empire after its conquest. • According to her, veiling was prevalent in pre-islamic society to differenciate veiled free womenfrom non veiled slaves. • Colonial feminism was a Western discourse of dominance which, "introduced the notion that an intrinsic connection existed between the issue of culture and the status of women, and … that progress for womencould be achieved only through abandoning the native culture."
  41. Zahra Ali, a 26-year-old French-Iranian woman, is working on a thesis dealing with the women's movement in Iraq since 2003
  42. Amina Wadud is an American scholar of Islam with a progressive focus on Qur'an exegesis • Wadud decided to lead Friday prayers (salat) for a congregationin the United States,breaking with Islamic laws, which allows only male imams (prayer leaders)in mixed-gendercongregations. • On Friday 18 March 2005,Wadud acted as imam for a congregationof about60 women and 40 men seated together,withoutany gender separation.The callto prayer was given by anotherwoman,Suheyla El-Attar.It was sponsored by the Muslim Women's Freedom Tour, underthe leadership ofAsra Nomani,by the website "Muslim WakeUp!," and by members of the ProgressiveMuslim Union.
  43. Fatma Emam is a Nubian Egyptian woman, who reread the Islamic sculptures from feminist point of view. • In addition to her feminist advocacy and academic activism, she is interested in studying the race and color dynamics in Egypt and the effect of forced displacement on the Nubian community. • Finally, she is a pan African and she is working to empathize that Egypt is multiple faced and being African is indivisible part of the Egyptian identity. • She thus started by embracing her Nubian name Fattou Sakory.
  44. Musawah ('equality' in Arabic) is a global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family. • It was launched in February 2009 at a Global Meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia attended by over 250 women and men from some 50 countries from around the globe. • Musawah is pluralistic and inclusive, bringing together NGOs, activists, scholars, legal practitioners, policy makers and grassroots women and men from around the world.
  45. Challenging the stereotypes
  46. Challenging the stereotypes
  47. Challenging the stereotypes
  48. Dr. Heba Kotb is an Egyptian certified sex therapist who reconciles sex and religion • The first licensed sexologist in the country, Kotb bases her methods on the teachings of the Qur'an, which she says encourages strong marital life including healthy sexual relationships between husband and wife.
  49. And who is shifting the balance now? A few initiatives to follow
  50. Coaching women politicians in Tunisia
  51. Gathering women testimonials in Morocco
  52. Leveraging VIPs and social media against domestic violence • Kafa campaign in Lebanon- #NoLawNoVote
  53. Spreading sex-positive information
  54. Creating powerful ads #MyMothersNameIs- Egypt
  55. Rethinking the role of men in Lebanon
  56. Teaching self esteem through self defense in Jordan
  57. Acting against street harassment in Egypt Girls got wheels Comics in Cairo metro
  58. Acting against street harassment in Egypt Tahrir Bodyguard
  59. Portraying non veiled Iranian women
  60. Teaching women to surf in Iran
  61. Smashing stereotypes with Palestinian female car racers
  62. The projectaims to empowerPalestiniansto document human rights violations and to provide evidence both to the public and to Israeli authorities. Teaching women how to document human rights violations
  63. Using social media to bypass traditional structures and hierarchies
  64. Creating new media channels
  65. Launching the first female recruitment portal in Saudi Arabia
  66. Portraying new game heroes Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the heroines of Saudi Girls Revolution are a badass group of Saudi women who come together in a governmentenforced camp. Rising out of this brutality the women build and race suped-up motorcycles. Their mission; to fight the evil tyrannicalrulers of the corrupted Arabian Empire…
  67. Have you heard of any badass project in the region? Keep us posted! @asalvaire