• Thursday, November 26, 2015
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund

    Gender Masala - Notes on gender - A spicy mix

    This blog brings out the flavour of gender issues, from the network of IPS writers and friends. Gender Masala is part of the Inter Press Service project Communicating for Change: Getting Voice, Visibility and Impact for Gender Equality. Check it at www.ips.org/mdg3/

    IWD: How the Kafala System is Failing Domestic Workers in the Middle East

    08 Mar 2012

    By Simba Shani Kamaria Russeau*

    “For developing countries, female migrants are becoming the main export as the labour market demand for a new form of modern-day slavery – domestic servitude – increases in the Middle East.”

    Libyan domestic worker Hawiyah Awal. Credit: Simba Russeau/IPS

    More »

    IPS Gender and Development Glossary, in Arabic

    06 Feb 2012

    The third edition of the IPS-Inter Press Service Gender and Development Glossary is now available in Arabic.

    The Glossary is meant to offer journalists and writers a guide for picking their way through the sometimes tricky terrain of gender, media and development, and the use of gender-related terms and language in media.

    “Some of these terminologies are very sensitive in this region,” wites Hibaaq Osman, founder and CEO of Karama in the intro. “However these are scientific terms and people need to understand what these terms are and how to use them.” More »

    Building Feminist Resistance in Iraq: OWFI

    22 Nov 2011

    OWFI women demonstrate in Baghdad raising slogans of change, right to work, and equality.

    Whereas the world in 2011 has heard of the Arab Spring and the thousands who gathered in Cairo, very few have heard of the Feb. 25, 2011 Day of Anger in the other Tahrir Square – in Baghdad.

    Nor do people follow this weekly Friday gathering of Iraqi women and men who demand their basic rights to work, water and electricity – along with the establishment of true democracy and an end to corruption and the occupation.

    The Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI) has been among those demonstrating at high risk to their own security. On Jun. 10 of this year, 100 days after the government promised to meet pro-democracy demands, activists who gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square were brutally attacked by plainclothes forces. Women meeting under the OWFI banner were sexually assaulted.

    More »

    Mujeres en las ‘Primaveras Árabes’: Presente y Futuro

    15 Nov 2011

    Granada, Spain, is hosting a ten-days seminar on the key role of women in the “Arab Springs”. The seminar is organised by the Fundacion Euro-Arabe, the Universidad de Granada, and the Licee Francais. Background and agenda are below, in Spanish.

    Del 14 al 24 de noviembre se celebra en Granada las jornadas ´Mujeres en las primaveras árabes: presente y futuro’, jornadas que responden a la necesidad de conocer de primera mano, los procesos de refundación que se están dando en muchos de los países del marco árabe desde el punto de vista de las mujeres.  ¿Cuál ha sido el papel de las mujeres en estas dinámicas de reivindicación de justicia y dignidad colectiva? ¿Cuáles son sus expectativas? ¿Cómo se ha representado, cómo se ha ‘nombrado’ este protagonismo por parte de instituciones nacionales e internacionales y los medios de comunicación, propios y ajenos?

    You can find more information here.

    Muslim Women Leaders: at the Frontlines of Change

    07 Oct 2011

    New York City – The American Society for Muslim Advancement (ASMA) announced the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality (WISE)  Conference to be held October 14-17, 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.  “Soon the world will witness how Muslim women activists, scholars, politicians jurists and poets have assumed leadership roles largely perceived to be restricted to Muslim men, ” says Daisy Khan, Executive Director of ASMA and the organizer of this conference.

    Over one hundred and seventy five Muslim women leaders of diverse backgrounds and religious ideologies from 45 countries, from Senegal to Pakistan from Saudi Arabia to Kazakhstan, will participate in Muslim Women Leaders: At the Frontlines of Change, a global conference of WISE, a program of ASMA.

    This timely convening will highlight how Muslim women are shattering stereotypes by playing significant roles as key leaders in their societies. “Our goal is to legitimize a coherent global movement, highlighting the ground breaking advancements of powerful Muslim women who are sharing and  building on their individual experiences,” adds Khan.

    Top leaders attending the conference include Special Adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General Dr. Nafis Sadik; Palestine’s first female judge, Judge Kholoud Al Faqeeh appointed to the Shariah Court; Esin Celebi, the descendant of the 13th century poet Rumi; Notable female Spiritual Sheikha’s Aisha Rafea (Egypt) and Seemi Ghazi (Canada); Pakistan’s Shahina Akbar a lawyer who recently was elected as a Member of Parliament.

    The conference will focus on the key roles Muslim women play in Politics, Civics & Business and Spirituality, featuring provocative debates and successful case studies including from Jamila Afghani, an educator from Afghanistan, who will showcase a unique approach to training Imams on women’s rights in Kabul and Jalalabad.

    A special session will be dedicated to women who ignited the Arab Spring. Political activists Asma Mahfouz (Egypt) will recap how she called upon Egyptians to join her on January 25th in Tahrir Square; and Nimah Nawwab (Saudi Arabia) will address voting rights for Saudi women as granted by King Abdullah and also highlight obstacles faced by Saudi Women; and Afra Jalabi a Syrian Canadian will discuss how her compatriots are maintaining a non-violent movement in the context of state brutality.

    Finally, the conference will announce the vision for the first Muftiyyah Doctoral program which will educate contemporary Muslim women to become full-fledged jurists capable of issuing fatwas. Accompanying this, the Muslim Women’s Shura Council, a global body of scholars and activists will present a religious justification for Muslim women’s leaderships in all spheres of society.

    A special Turkish panel with Cemalnur Sargut a prominent Turkish Spiritual leader joined by  Nazli Kayahan, Dilek Guldutuna and Nese Tas titled  “A Woman’s Place in Islam – Views from Turkish Women”  will provide a unique lens  into Turkish women’s interaction with Islam.

    Joining their sisters in faith will be an interfaith panel of Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn, Reverand Gwynne Guibord and Dr. Rita Sherma who will share their experiences as women spiritual leaders in Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism.

    Contact Information :
    Daisy Khan daisy@asmasociety.org
    Dominic Bocci: Dominic@asmasociety.org Ph: 212 870 2552 (ASMA)
    Caitlyn Bolton: cb@cordobainitiative.org Ph: 212 870 2552 (Cordoba Initiative)

    Website: www.asmasociety.orgwww.wisemuslimwomen.org

    Hibaaq Osman on Youth, Social Media, and Women in the Egyptian Revolution

    05 Oct 2011

    Hibaaq Osman. Credit: El Karama

    “I never thought in my lifetime I would see a revolution unfolding under my eyes. It was a moment of uncertainty and excitement,” Hibaaq Osman told DLD (Digital Life Design) Women in a recent video interview.

    Hibaaq Osman is founder and CEO of the IPS MDG3 partner El Karama, an Egypt based organisation for women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa.

    In her reflection, Ms. Osman shares her personal experiences and observations from the days of revolution in Egypt, including descriptions of the Egyptian people and their protective nature toward each other, for instance, the way they came down to protect one another and their property in the days when the police could no longer be found in the streets. More »

    Creating a counter culture to violence: Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)

    03 Oct 2011

    By Wendy Harcourt

    Acid sprayed on two Afghani school girls on their way to school, a 15 year old Pakistani girl found dead, killed by her brother, a son killing his mother for a suspected affair in Uttar Pradesh, these are just a few of the ‘honour killings’ reported by Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) in 2011. ‘Violence is Not Our Culture’ campaign coordinated by Women Living Under Muslim Laws seeks to put an end to violence perpetrated in the name of religion and culture in Muslim countries. With the support of the MDG3 Fund WLUML strengthens women’s individual and collective struggles for equality and their rights, in Muslim contexts where women’s lives are shaped, conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to be derived from Islam. The MDG3 Fund is supporting their work specifically in Afghanistan, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and Sudan. More »

    Women’s Learning Partnership: The Arab Spring Feminist Style

    29 Aug 2011

    Women in the forefront of protests in Tahrir Square. Credit:Mohammed Omer/IPS

    By Wendy Harcourt*

    The Arab Spring has taken the global imagination. The Arab Spring has brought about political changes in post-revolution countries (Tunisia and Egypt), in countries currently undergoing popular, and often armed revolts (Bahrain, Syria, Yemen, and Libya) and in countries where some type of reform movement is taking place (Algeria, Jordan, Morocco, and to a lesser extent, Lebanon). But how did the use of ICTs, twitter and Facebook reach youth and in particular women in the MENA region? How did young people and women find the tools and spaces to speak about democracy and women’s rights, in cultures that barely recognize their social and political rights? How did they find the courage to go onto the streets in deviance of autocratic and repressive regimes? More »

    Women Lead Protests, in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Italy

    14 Feb 2011

    Women in the forefront of protests in Tahrir Square.  Credit:Mohammed Omer

    Women in the forefront of protests in Tahrir Square. Credit:Mohammed Omer

    Across the Arab world, women have stepped into the forefront of dangerous anti-regime protests.

    They have visibly been in the forefront in demonstrations at Tahrir Square, Cairo – in a society where women traditionally have taken a back seat.

    In Tunisia, human rights leader and blogger Lina Ben Mehenni was among the first to get word out about the Tunisian protests early in December through her tweets and blogs – despite police threats.

    In Yemen, another country that has seen major anti-government protests, young woman activist Tawakul Abdel-Salam Karman was leading the charge.


    Women protest in Rome. Credit:Sabina Zaccaro

    At little geographical distance, a pro-democracy and anti-corruption national movement was simultaneously born in Italy, where the one million women march filled the streets on 13 February.

    Read IPS reports:

    Arab Women Lead the Charge

    It’s a Lot Worse Than Sex Parties