MENA News Guide: The Female Perspective

Egyptian women line up to vote in parliamentary elections. ( UN Women /Fatma Elzahraa Yassin)

Egyptian women line up to vote in parliamentary elections. (UN Women/Fatma Elzahraa Yassin)

Improved access to social media and technology provide new avenues for women in the Middle East to broadcast their struggles and aspirations for women's rights in the region. As the future champions of women’s rights in MENA further promote their cause across the internet, the international community has become more aware of and connected to the plights that result in the push for gender equality. This post will highlight a few of these outlets that have gained a significant following.

Afrah Nasser’s Blog: A blog written by a self-exile from Yemen to Sweden, Afrah Nasser. Her blog focuses on women’s rights, democracy, and the politics of Yemen. In April 2011, CNN featured her blog as one of the 10-must-read blogs in the region. In October 2012, it was listed at number 3 of 35 Top Middle East blogs by The Monitor.

An-Nathra: A blog written by 15 women from various parts of Palestine. The women received training by NGO TAM “Women, Media and Development,” and support by the French development agency CFI. It is intended to promote a woman's view on pressing social issues. It is bilingual in English and Arabic.

Maryam Namazie: A blog written by Iranian born, Maryan Namazie. She is the Spokesperson for Fitnah-Movement for Women’s Liberation, Equal Rights Now, One Law for All Campaign against Sharia Law in Britain. She was shortlisted for Journalist of the Year Award at the Dods Women in Public Life Awards in 2013. Her blog is dedicated to addressing pressing issues of women’s rights in the region.

Mona Kareem: A voice from the 4th world: A blog written by Mona Kareem, the founder of Bedoon Rights--a network that addresses the human-rights violations that affect Kuwait’s jinsiyya (without nationality).

Muslima: A website featuring artwork from the International Museum of Women depicting different voices of Muslim women from around the globe. Topics include: Power, Faith, Leadership, Appearance, Myths, Generations, Change and Connections.

Women on Walls: A street-art women’s empowerment campaign currently taking place in Egypt. The Women on Walls is a campaign made up of various artists that use graffiti on walls to take a stand for women’s rights in Egypt. The website documents the artwork and progress that these women are making currently. It bilingual in English and Arabic.

 The Uprising of Women in the Arab World:  The movement launched on Facebook in October 2011 out of frustration with newly elected leaders in the post-Arab Spring countries who have failed to make women's rights a priority. Now a 100,000 strong Facebook community, a blog, a twitter account, and a public campaign, the site positions itself as an open forum for women to speak out and demand equality and basic rights. Below are photos from a crowd-sourced campaign supporting women's rights.

Center:   "I am with the uprising of women in the Arab world for my daughter and your daughter to live in dignity" - Jihad, Jordan

Right: I am with the uprising of women in the Arab world because I have the right to walk down the street without being cursed because I m not covering my face. I m not cursed and my face is not shameful." - Marwa, Yemen

The author would like to thank Nirit Hinkis for her research assistance on this blog post.