Empowerment

Si l'on s'en tient aux images de télévisions, on pourrait croire que la Libye est peuplée d'hommes, exclusivement. Et pourtant, « ce sont les femmes qui, les premières, ont défié l'interdiction de manifester » raconte Naeïma Gebril, juge à la cour d'appel de Benghazi : « Le 15 février, les mères de milliers de prisonniers morts en détention sont venues se poster devant le tribunal de Benghazi avec les portraits de leurs fils, car le procès venait de s'ouvrir et Fethi Tril, l'un des avocats qui plaidait leur cause, avait été arrêté la veille. Elles n'ont pas été réprimées : il était impensable que les policiers frappent des femmes. »

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. 

A group of young women and men led by Nawal Saadawi – a prominent Egyptian feminist – called for A Million Women March on 8 March to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day. A number of young people joined the coordination meetings and other women's rights groups decided to participate in the march with their slogans.

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.

 زينة زعتري

«أين هم النساء؟». بدأ هذا السؤال يتكرر، في ظرف أسبوع أو أقل، بعد بدء الثورة في مصر وتجمّع الثوار في ميدان التحرير. في البداية، سمعته من صحافيين في الولايات المتحدة، ثمّ بدأ يظهر على صفحات الفايسبوك والتويتر، وفي حوارات بين ناشطات نسويات وأكاديميات من المنطقة. وردّة فعلي الأولى كانت حالة من الانزعاج، وشعوراً بالامتعاض من إحساسي بأنّ علينا أن نبرهن على وجود النساء في الثورة لسبب ما. ولم أفهم تماماً أسباب انزعاجي من السؤال فبدأت أفكر في أبعاده وتفاصيله.

As everyone knows, today is International Women’s Day, and it is the first day for the celebration of women rights after the success of the Egyptian Revolution, which forced the former president Mubarak out of power in February. For the past two weeks, a call was made for citizens to participate in a million women march in Tahrir square to celebrate the day and honour the martyrs of Egypt: women and men. The march was supposed to be between 2:00- 6:00 PM on March 8 and the square was chosen as a symbol for the determination of the Egyptian pro-democracy movement. 

نمرّ، في المنطقة العربية، بظرف تاريخي أشعلته الثورات الشعبية التي انطلقت بدايةً من تونس الخضراء، مروراً بمصرنا الأبية وانتهاءً بليبيا واليمن والبحرين والجزائر، ومن يدري من سيلحق بالركب التحرري. ألقت هذه الثورات بظلالها على تفاصيل الحياة في هذه البلدان، وفرضت على الجميع مراجعة النفس وضرورة التعرف إلى واقع المرحلة الراهنة ومحاولة استشراف المستقبل. هذا ما حاولتُ القيام به، مع المدرسة النسوية التي أنتمي إليها فكرياً، وهي مدرسة النسوية الإسلامية. حاولت أن أدرك أين نحن وما نحن مُقبلات عليه.

On International Women’s Day 2011, WLUML would like to share a few of the many successes and struggles of our networkers across the world: from Malaysia, Sudan, Pakistan and Egypt.

Shirkat Gah (SG) organized an inter-university film festival on Thursday, 3rd of March 2011 at the Ali Institute of Education, as part of its campaign titled ‘Violence is not our Culture’. This event also marked 100 years of International Women’s Day (1911-2011). The event was attended by university students, Civil Society and NGO members as well as people from all walks of life.

Riz Khan is joined by Rabab al-Mahdi, a professor of political science at the American University in Cairo; Frances Hasso, a professor of Women's Studies at Duke University; and Nadje al-Ali, a social anthropologist at the University of London. What role have Arab women played in the popular uprisings around the Middle East and what stake do they really have in their countries' political future? 

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