[empower] women’s activism

La haute commission chargée de préparer les élections du 24 juillet de l’assemblée constituante tunisienne a adopté lundi soir un décret qui prévoit un mode de scrutin à la proportionnelle et la parité-hommes/femmes, rapporte Trends top. L’élection prévoit le système des plus forts restes, qui favorise les petits partis. 

Ces derniers mois, des mères de famille de différents horizons, pour la plupart des femmes mariées, ont sollicité Liberté sur un sujet peu médiatisé, lié à leur droit de tutelle sur les enfants, mais qui semble les affecter sérieusement, voire les humilier. Comme les questions de ces femmes étaient très précises, nous avons jugé utile de nous rapprocher d’une avocate, Maître Nadia Aït Zaï, pour en savoir plus sur le thème, en relation avec les textes en vigueur, et pour tenter de répondre à certaines de leurs préoccupations.

“M. le président, je vous écris du Bahreïn, après avoir été victime d’une terrible injustice que je ne souhaiterais à personne d’autre au monde. Les forces de sécurité ont attaqué ma maison, enfoncé les portes à coups de massue et terrorisé ma famille. Sans aucun avertissement, sans aucun mandat d’arrêt et sans fournir aucune raison, des hommes armés et cagoulés ont attaqué mon père. Bien qu’ils n’aient rien dit, nous savons tous que le crime qui est reproché à mon père est d’être un militant des droits de l’homme”.

A recent hate campaign has been waged against the London-based academic and imam, Dr Usama Hasan. He has been victimised, accused of apostasy and has received death threats for his comments on evolution and the woman's right to choose whether or not to wear hijab. The Board of the Muslim Women’s Network-UK (http://www.mwnuk.co.uk/) strongly condemns the bullying and harassment of Dr Hasan. 

The preconceived notions about the working conditions of NGOs in general and feminist organisations in particular would seem to apply in this case. Behind a website crammed with a wealth of high-quality information in seven languages, successful campaigns, projects, and calls for solidarity, a lot of hard work is being done in backstreet offices. The international co-ordination office (ICO) of Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML, www.wluml.org) is situated in North London. Here, in a roughly thirty square metre corner of an old factory, five women and a handful of unpaid volunteers work, network, raise funds, publish, debate, and co-ordinate the work of a global network. The diversity of the team – which comprises women from Pakistan, Italy, Sweden, Nigeria, and England as well as people of Christian, Muslim and atheist orientations – is in itself a reflection of what WLUML is all about, namely bringing a diverse range of women with their different life experiences together, across national borders, questioning and overcoming existing gender orders together, and demanding gender justice. Women Living Under Muslim Laws is a name that invokes a variety of associations. However, behind these five carefully chosen words is a clear message.

On March 12, 2011, women human rights defenders from Palestine and Israel marked the centenary of International Women's Day with a historic conference at which the following contributions were made:  Ilana Hammerman: The "Entry to Israel" law is illegal and should not be obeyed; and Rivka Sum: The attack in Itamar proves that we should continue to work daily together to end the impossible occupation. 

On the 100 years celebration of women’s day, Solidaritas Perempuan (SP) organized a campaign series with title of Anti-Discrimination Women Movement (GADIS) as a form of public education. The selection of “GADIS” (GIRL) term, was not to reinforce nor perpetuating patriarchal discourse behind the word of GADIS that limiting women sexuality rights, but this campaign also used the term GADIS to restore the original meaning, which was; a woman who have undergone puberty and during that time, discrimination of women sexuality rights was becoming more visible.

The Coalition of Egyptian Feminist Organizations welcomes the appointment of Mr. Essam Sharaf as  Prime Minister of the new civilian government of Egypt, especially after he confirmed being fully committed to the demands of the 25th of January revolution. The Coalition considers that the achievement of these demands require a clear representation of all the forces involved in the Egyptian revolution in the composition of the new cabinet, mainly the youth who played a historical role in initiating and inspiring the revolution by their determination to pursue the march till the end.  The Coalition also considers that the forthcoming cabinet should reflect the representation of women from diverse affiliations, a representation that did not occur in the past cabinet or in the various committees that were established following the revolution.

A presidential decree issued at the beginning of 2011 made long-awaited changes to the country's criminal law, which dates to 1949 and contains numerous provisions considered prejudicial towards women. But while the amendments are a step forward, local activists say they do not go far enough. 

Celebrations for International Women’s Day on March 8 and the days leading up to it were as diverse as Malaysian women themselves. There were concerts, dinner theatre shows, workshops, readings and, if you had followed Sisters in Islam (SIS) and the Musawah Young Women’s Caucus, a pleasant stroll through Taman Jaya. But the placards carried by the women participating in the SIS and Musawah event indicated that it’s no walk in the park for these two organisations in their work to improve the lot of Muslim women. “One Husband = One Wife”, “No Religion Condones Violence”, “Women’s Rights = Human Rights”, said the signs the women carried on their chests and backs and across their arms.

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