Core to the central values and goals of the Shared Societies Project is our commitment to nurturing inter community development and fostering wider participation and consultation within society.
As the Arab Awakening unfolded and continues to unravel in front of our eyes, the SSP has avidly monitored and reported upon what after-taste this revolution has left in terms of its legacy for women, and ensuring that they hold a greater stake in society’s future.
Theatres of protest across the MENA, from port-side in Manama to down-town Tunis, have consistently been populated by both men and women, chanting alike الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام – Ash-shab yurid isqat an-nizam – The people want to bring down the end of the regime!
Yet, 12 months down the line it is poignant and apt to question whether structures, policies and legal frameworks have been enshrined in MENA societies to foster greater social cohesion and more participation for both men and women alike. Having shrugged off off the chains of tyranny and embraced a democratic future, at this tabula rasa juncture for MENA societies, are men and women playing an equal role in scripting and penning the next chapters in their respective histories?
Tawakkol Karman, a female Yemeni journalist is now a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. Wael Ghonim, a male Internet activist and social entrepreneur, embodies the Egyptian youth who descended upon Tahrir Square. Enormous contributions from men and women alike, have launched a new trajectory for democracy in the MENA. However, much conjecture is being dedicated to the question of whether women have taken one step forward, yet two steps back in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy, in a polemical Foreign Policy essay that is garnering plenty of media attention and column inches, offers a frank appraisal of the state of play and what she perceives to be a fast engulfing war against women across the MENA – it’s definitely worth a read and your attention!
The Sex Issue – A FOREIGN POLICY SPECIAL
GLOBAL VOICES is currently tracking ripostes to Ms Eltahawy’s original article; a sample of these can be accessed below: