Empowerment

"Recently we have witnessed the active participation of women in public protests in many parts of the world which reflect their strong desire to promote societal change, including in respect of the rule of law and human rights generally, and women's human rights in particular. Moments of political transition provide a unique opportunity to ensure that women participate equally in public life and that their rights in legal and social systems, including the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence in law and in practice are addressed.

L’étranger de passage à Tunis (particulièrement celui qui n’a pas visité ce pays depuis quelques années, comme c’est notre cas) est frappé par l’effervescence des débats, des échanges verbaux, dans les cafés, sur les places publiques, dans les bus, près des échoppes…

Tunis. De notre envoyée spéciale

Nine months after a popular election toppled the dictatorship of former Tunisian president Zine Abidine Ben Ali, voters headed to the polls Sunday to cast their ballots for fresh leaders to rewrite the laws of the country’s political system.

The election campaign in the birthplace of the Arab Spring has been, among other things, a battleground for women’s rights as voters set out to choose from about 11,000 candidates, half of them women.

Political activist Tawakkul Karman has brought Yemen’s revolution to New York, speaking directly on October 20 with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and organizing rallies at the United Nations headquarters in lower Manhattan, the largest of which is slated for the afternoon of October 21. The purpose of her visit is to keep pressure on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that reflects the aspirations of the overwhelming numbers of Yemenis who have sustained peaceful calls for change for the nine long months since protests began in late January.

This paper reflects the perspectives and recommendations of Afghan women who have participated in a series of meetings, roundtables and workshops organized by Afghan Women’s Network (AWN). The following overview of consultation outcomes and recommendations presents how women see their future and the future of Afghanistan thru 2014 and beyond.

At the age of six, in the summer of 1937, Nawal El Saadawi was pinned down by four women in her home in Egypt. A midwife, holding a sharpened razor blade, pulled out her clitoris and cut it off. "Since I was a child that deep wound left in my body has never healed," she wrote in her first autobiography, A Daughter of Isis.

"I lay in a pool of blood. After a few days, the bleeding stopped, and the daya [midwife] peered between my thighs and said, 'All is well. The wound has healed, thanks be to God.' But the pain was there, like an abscess in my flesh."

Wajeha al-Huwaider is perhaps the best-known Saudi campaigner for women’s rights, human rights and democracy. She has protested energetically against the kingdom’s lack of formal laws (the Koran is it) and basic freedoms and in particular against the guardianship system, under which every female, from birth to death, needs the permission of a male relative to make decisions in all important areas of life—education, travel, marriage, employment, finances, even surgery. In 2008 a video of her driving a car, which is forbidden for women in Saudi Arabia, created a sensation when it was posted on YouTube. Al-Huwaider is a strong supporter of the June 17 Movement, which calls on Saudi women to start driving on that date, and made the celebrated YouTube video of its co-founder, Manal al-Sherif, jailed for nine days in May for driving. While this interview was in preparation, she was briefly detained by the police when she tried to visit Nathalie Morin, a French-Canadian woman held captive with her children by her Saudi husband.

In a bid to encourage more women to vote in the fourthcoming Constituent Assembly elections, Tunisia has launched a nationwide campaign.

The media campaign to run from Oct. 1 to 20 is an initiative of the ministry of women's affairs and is airing on radio and television spots, plus on posters.

The campaign was officially launched by the minister of women's affairs, Lilia Laabidi, who encouraged women to take part in political life and assert their presence in the Constituent Assembly to be held October 23.

Equipped with writing, filming and editing skills, “Geekettes” are ready to take back the tech and introduce audiences to an entirely new way of looking at the world: through the eyes of Lebanese girls ages 15-19.

During the weeklong Girl Geek Camp in July, girls from across Lebanon arrived in the city of Kfardebian to learn how to create blogs, use social networks, and film videos on cameras and mobile phones. Building on the camp’s success, the second class of Geekettes arrive this month.

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