Empowerment

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. 

The Gender Justice Uncovered 2010 Awards ask us to "Seek to identify the best and worst decisions or statements related to gender made in English, Spanish or Portuguese within a judicial process. A jury, made up of three renowned figures will choose the “Gavel” and the “Bludgeon” decisions. The three most sexist decisions will receive bronze, silver and gold Bludgeons and the three decisions that best promote gender equality will receive bronze, silver and gold Gavels. The People’s Choice Awards will be given based on the votes from the public. Those who nominate the winners of the People's Choice Awards will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony in Madrid. Deadline to nominate: April 4, 2011; Deadline to vote: April 25, 2011; The winners will be announced on June 2, 2011 at a very special ceremony!” Justice For Iran has nominated Ayatollah Mohseni Ejei, Iran’s general prosecutor and the majority of Iranian Supreme Court because of their recent unfair and discriminatory decision which discredit women’s right for divorce based on the marriage contract’s conditions. 

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.

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.

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