Posts tagged ‘middle east’

“Female Saudi film director breaks taboos in Venice”

Female Saudi film director breaks taboos in Venice

Mon, 3 Sep 2012 10:21 GMT

Source: Reuters // Silvia Aloisi

VENICE, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s first female director has made her debut at the Venice film festival, exploring the limitations placed on women in the conservative Islamic kingdom through the tale of a strong-willed 10-year-old girl living in Riyadh.

The film, which the director says is the first to have been entirely shot in Saudi Arabia, follows the everyday life of young Wadjda and her attempts to circumvent restrictions and break social barriers – both at school and at home.

Constantly scolded for not wearing a veil, listening to pop music and not hiding in front of men, Wadjda uses guile to get her own way…

Read the full article: http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/female-saudi-film-director-breaks-taboos-in-venice/

September 3, 2012 at 8:58 am 1 comment

Counterpoint: “Saudi women going to Games is a sham” @SAISHopkins #olympics #hwhtw

Much has been made (including by HWHTW – see: News: “Saudi Arabia To Send Olympic Women Athletes For First Time”) of the gender  milestones reached with the 2012 Olympics: more women athletes than men, and  female participants from every participating country, including Saudi Arabia.  Jocelyne Cesari, a professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS, argues that the presence of female Saudi athletes at the Olympics does not signify a big step forward for Saudi women:

“But if [judo competitor Wojdan] Shaherkani had withdrawn, it would not have been a setback for Saudi women because her inclusion was not a sign of advancement. The presence of Saudi women is the result of several months of pressure by the International Olympics Committee on Saudi Arabia to include women competitors or face being banned from participation.

“The situation for female athletes in Saudi Arabia is bleak.

“Saudi women in general are denied the right to practice sports. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prevents girls from taking part in sports in government schools. Physical education is allowed only in private schools. Women are not allowed to play in official sports clubs or even watch matches in stadiums. Girls’ football, volleyball and basketball games in private schools and colleges are held secretly.”

Read the full article: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/01/opinion/cesari-saudi-women-sports/index.html

August 1, 2012 at 12:57 pm 1 comment

News: “Saudi Arabia To Send Olympic Women Athletes For First Time” @DonnaAN1 #olympics #hwhtw

Saudi Arabia To Send Olympic Women Athletes For First Time

By Bob Bensch and Donna Abu-Nasr

Saudi Arabia will send female athletes to the Olympic Games for the first time, the International Olympic Committee said, ending a ban by the kingdom where women aren’t allowed to drive.

Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani will compete in judo at the London Games and Sarah Attar will run the 800 meters. The athletes, who were invited by the IOC, were submitted by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee before the July 9 deadline, the IOC said. The Saudis had previously sent all-male teams.

“This is very positive news and we are delighted to welcome these two athletes in London in a few weeks’ time,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said in a statement on the governing body’s website.

Read the full article: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-12/saudi-arabia-to-send-women-athletes-to-olympics-for-first-time.html

July 12, 2012 at 11:17 am 2 comments

“The United Arab Emirates – a Fertile Frontier for Financial Women” via @VitalVoices @HuffingtonPost #hwhtw

Anne Izzillo of the HuffPost reports that the UAE is the place to be for women entrepreneurs:

“This is what we found: If you are a woman looking to start a business in the UAE — this is your moment. Today, women are forming start-ups in the region that range from multi-million dollar private equity funds and tech start-ups to western-inspired fashion labels and successful yoga studio chains. The opportunities are ripe for local and foreign women alike, thanks to several key factors that are leading a female business boom in the region.

“It starts with the government’s commitment to providing a high standard of education for both men and women. Today, the literacy rate for UAE women is 90 percent. Also, it is encouraging that the UAE Constitution promotes gender equality, including equal pay for equal work under the Labor Law and the right for women to inherit property. All of these factors have created a fertile environment for the seeds of female entrepreneurship to grow.”

Read the full article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-izzillo/united-arab-emirates_b_1522362.html

May 18, 2012 at 12:08 pm Leave a comment

“Why Women Are a Foreign Policy Issue” @mverveer #hwhtw

U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer has penned a brilliant and compelling piece on women for Foreign Policy.  A must-read!

Why Women Are a Foreign Policy Issue

The most pressing global problems simply won’t be solved without the participation of women. Seriously, guys.

On a trip to Afghanistan in the summer of 2009, not long after my appointment as the U.S. State Department’s ambassador at large for global women’s issues, I stopped for dinner with a group of Afghan women activists in Kabul. One woman opened our conversation with a plea: “Please don’t see us as victims, but look to us as the leaders we are.”

Those words have stuck with me as President Barack Obama’s administration has endeavored to put women at the heart of its foreign policy. For generations, the United States too often viewed the world’s women as victims of poverty and illiteracy, of violence and seemingly unbreakable cultural traditions — essentially, as beneficiaries of aid. Women’s issues existed on the margins, segregated from the more “strategic” issues of war, peace, and economic stability. Now, in a time of transformative change — from the rise of new economic powers to a growing chorus of voices against repressive regimes in the Arab world — promoting the status of women is not just a moral imperative but a strategic one; it’s essential to economic prosperity and to global peace and security. It is, in other words, a strategy for a smarter foreign policy.

Read the full article: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/23/why_women_are_a_foreign_policy_issue

April 28, 2012 at 12:05 pm 2 comments

“How Come You Allow Little Girls to Get Married?”

An eye-opening report on child marriage in Yemen from Human Rights Watch:

Read the report: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/yemen1211ForUpload_0.pdf

December 15, 2011 at 12:15 pm Leave a comment

“(Wo)manning the tills in Saudi Arabia: Women start work as shopkeepers” #hwhtw

Saudi Arabia’s new policy on women working in retail shops is great news – not only for women shoppers, but for women who need jobs.

“A decade of embarrassing discussions with salesmen about undergarment sizes and styles is coming to an end as Saudi Arabia implements the first phase of the Labor Ministry’s directives on hiring more women as shopkeepers. ”

http://www.albawaba.com/editorchoice/womanning-tills-saudi-arabia-women-start-work-shopkeepers-400168

November 22, 2011 at 12:36 pm Leave a comment

The Saudi Princess & the Tweet: Princess Ameerah & the Push for Women’s Rights in the Kingdom @gaylelemmon #hwhtw

Gayle Lemmon has snagged an exclusive interview in Newsweek with Saudi princess Ameerah Al-Taweel on “why the kingdom’s women won’t accept a reversal on equal rights”:

“Perched between the camps is the 27-year-old current wife of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (the king’s nephew), Princess Ameerah Al-Taweel. Part of a ruling family focused on maintaining the existing order, Ameerah is also an eloquent member of the Twitter generation who has begun to use her social prominence to advocate for women. “We want equal rights, we want what God has given us, the respect and the dignity to live as an equal citizen,” she says.

“King Abdullah himself has made some tentative moves to expand women’s rights. Two years ago he angered conservative clerics by launching coed university education. More recently he decreed that women would be able to vote and run for office—in the 2015 municipal elections, a delay designed in part to avoid roiling those same clerics.

“With [Crown Prince] Sultan’s death, some activists have begun to wonder whether the openings of the past few years will turn out to be only a moderately liberal interlude between decades of tight restrictions on women’s lives. Yet the princess remains hopeful. “I don’t see Saudi women accepting going back,” she says.”

Read the full article: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2011/10/30/princess-tweets-for-saudi-women-ameerah-al-taweel.html

November 14, 2011 at 12:37 pm Leave a comment

“Yemeni women burn traditional female veils to protest regime crackdown” #arabspring #hwhtw

Women in Yemen are making their voices heard, through dramatic protests aginst the brutal government crackdown.

“In the capital, Sanaa, the women spread a black cloth across a main street and threw their full-body veils, known as makrama, onto a pile, sprayed it with oil and set it ablaze. As the flames rose, they chanted: ‘Who protects Yemeni women from the crimes of the thugs?’

“The women in Yemen have taken a key role in the uprising against President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s authoritarian rule that erupted in March, inspired by other Arab revolutions. Their role came into the limelight earlier in October, when Yemeni woman activist Tawakkul Karman was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with two Liberian women, for their struggle for women’s rights.”

Read the full article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/yemeni-women-burn-traditional-face-body-veils-to-protest-government-crackdown-on-protesters/2011/10/26/gIQAllQQIM_story.html

November 6, 2011 at 12:40 pm Leave a comment

“Female war reporters: ‘We’re given the softer side of war'”

This article from The Independent asks, “[I]s it patronising, irrelevant, sexist even, to mention Crawford, Sidner and Khodr’s gender? Or can the fact that three women were at the forefront of media coverage of a revolution be worthy of discussion about how that revolution was perceived? A new book about reporting the Arab Spring, out next month, aims to look at this.”

Read the full article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/female-war-reporters-were-given-the-softer-side-of-war-2354158.html

October 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm Leave a comment

Congratulations to Female Nobel Peace Laureates #Nobelpeaceprize

From Sec. Clinton:

“I am delighted to send heartfelt congratulations to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf [see previous post “Ellen Johnson Sirleaf: ‘A Victor of Circumstances’”], Yemeni activist Tawakkul Karman and Liberian peace activist Leymah Roberta Gbowee for the prestigious honor of sharing this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. They are shining examples of the difference that women can make and the progress they can help achieve when given the opportunity to make decisions about the future of their societies and countries.

“The unflinching courage, strength and leadership of these women to build peace, advance reconciliation, and defend the rights of fellow citizens in their own countries provide inspiration for women’s rights and human progress everywhere. This recognition of their extraordinary accomplishments reflects the efforts of many other women who are promoting peace and security in their countries and communities. I want to commend the Nobel Committee for recognizing the powerful role women are playing in building peace and ending conflict around the world.”

http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/10/175164.htm

October 7, 2011 at 3:37 pm Leave a comment

Video: “Iraqi activist: Baghdad betrayed me”

Here’s a fascinating article with video from CNN on Iraqi women’s rights activist Noof Assi.

Iraqi activist: Baghdad betrayed me

By Arwa Damon, CNN

September 12, 2011 — Updated 1404 GMT (2204 HKT)

“The heading on 21-year-old Noof Assi’s blog page is the classic Gandhi quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

She is often at the forefront of demonstrations in Iraq demanding basic services and reforms — but her road from child to activist has been dogged by bloodshed and violence.

She said: “I have to be the change, not to change people and stay the same. So I did it, I am trying to do it. I am not the girl that goes to the protests from the beginning with the boys, all this stuff.”

Noof is a fabric design major turned activist and blogger, working at the human rights group, al-Amal, which means hope.

She shows us what she wrote a few years ago. “I dream to sleep without painkillers. I dream to wake up in a home that gives me love and hope, not to end up in a grave.””

Read more and watch the video: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/09/09/9.11.iraq/

October 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm Leave a comment

UN Women is Hiring! @unwomen #hwhtw

UN Women is hiring for several positions in New York and worldwide, including Arab States Regional Director, Communications and Outreach Specialist (EVAW), and Programme Specialist (Gender and Governance in Fragile and Conflict Affected States).  Act fast – applications are due soon!

See the job postings: http://www.unwomen.org/about-us/employment/

August 10, 2011 at 12:55 pm Leave a comment

#DTDW: Power Lunch

I’m such a conference geek – I’m glowing with delight over the amazing, enlightening lunch I just had with Ambassador Steve Steiner, conference panelist Kathleen Kuehnast of USIP, USAID human trafficking expert Katherine Blakeslee, and development maven Patty Marcus, just back from Iraq.

June 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm Leave a comment

“Training Women Facilitators in Iraq”

The U.S. Institute of Peace continues its focus on women as peacebuilders with a new training program for Iraqi women:

“In the most conflict-ridden areas of Iraq, USIP’s Network of Iraqi Facilitators (NIF) has provided conflict management training, facilitated dialogue between conflicting groups, and solved local problems, contributing significantly to efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq. As part of the Academy’s ongoing NIF training, senior program officer Maria Jessop, Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana (from USIP’s  Religion and Peacemaking Center), and Khitam Alkhaghani from the Baghdad Office traveled to Erbil in May to conduct an Advanced Dialogue Facilitation Workshop for 17 women of the NIF. The workshop’s goal was to strengthen their ability to facilitate dialogue on sensitive topics involving gender, sectarianism, and identity-based tensions between women in order to achieve greater unity and cooperation. USIP will continue supporting the NIF women as they convene dialogues of their own. ”

Read more about the Network of Iraqi Facilitators program: http://www.usip.org/node/4604

June 18, 2011 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

Women Take Control by Taking the Wheel in Saudi Arabia

Today is “I will drive the car myself day” in Saudi Arabia.  It’s the only country in the world where women are not permitted to drive, and Saudi women are speaking out, using Facebook and Twitter to encourage each other to get behind the wheel on June 17. 

This article reports: “My driver takes me someplace, and then my husband picks me up and drives me home,” said one young woman who asked not be named. “I just want, for a few minutes, to be able to go somewhere that no one knows where I am. Men don’t want you to have that freedom. You can go somewhere and they don’t know where you are? It’s their worst nightmare.”

Read more: http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/saudi-arabia/110615/saudi-womens-rights-driving-rights?page=full

To visit the movement’s Facebook page, search for “I will drive my car in my country”.

To see tweets about “I will drive the car myself day”, search for hashtag #women2drive or click here.

June 17, 2011 at 9:55 am Leave a comment

Event: “Women’s Political Participation In The Middle East: The Changing Political Landscape”

On Thursday, June 23rd, the Women’s Foreign Policy Group will co-host a panel discussion on women’s political participation in the Middle East with speakers May Kosba, Sanja Kelly, and Charles Dunne.  The event is free, and lunch will be served, but you must RSVP.  The event will be held at Freedom House, located at 1301 Connecticut Ave., NW, in Washington, D.C.

 

 

To learn more or RSVP: http://data.memberclicks.com/site/wfpg/2011-06-23womens-political-participation-invite.pdf

June 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm 1 comment

Under Sec. Otero on Human Rights in the Obama Administration

In a recent speech at American University, Under Secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs Maria Otero emphasized the importance of gender equality in the Obama Administration’s human rights policy:

“Our support of civil society in its pursuit of human rights also means elevating our commitment to marginalized and disenfranchised groups, including women, persons with disabilities, ethnic minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

“For example, despite bearing the brunt of society’s political and economic challenges, women across the Americas’ continue to drive democratic change and social equality. I have met with women leaders in Brazil who are fighting the scourge of human trafficking. Women in Honduras are raising their voices in the name of freedom of speech, and protecting the place of human rights defenders in society. In Colombia, women are defending the rights of the 3 million internally displaced people. And in Cuba, the Damas de Blanco were recently honored for its work fighting for fundamental freedoms. Yet, despite these heroic examples, women remain marginalized by outdated legislation and lackluster law enforcement. Even as we gather here today, women in the Middle East are struggling to make their voices heard in nascent democratic transitions. As countries seek to establish more stable, respected governments, the role of women will be tantamount to their success.”

Read the full speech: http://www.state.gov/g/161910.htm

May 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm Leave a comment

U.S. Women Senators Call for Women’s Rights in North Africa and the Middle East

“Following weeks of tumult and protests in North Africa and the Middle East, Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) is leading her 16 female Senate colleagues in emphasizing the vital importance of women’s rights and political participation as leaders in North Africa and the Middle East consider constitutional reforms and shape new governments.  In a resolution introduced [March 28th] the 17 Senators are reaffirming their commitment to representative and responsive democratic governments that respect women’s rights and are calling on leaders in North Africa and the Middle East to include women when it comes to making decisions that will affect their lives.”

Read more: http://snowe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ContentRecord_id=af20bf36-dccd-4237-8ce2-840bdc1957a2

April 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm Leave a comment

Hillary Clinton’s War for Women’s Rights

“Welcome to Hillary’s war: In this week’s Newsweek, Gayle Tzemach Lemmon digs into the secretary of state’s fight to bring attention to the plight of women and girls across the world, championing opportunity and equality for women wherever she goes.

“Newsweek traveled to the Middle East with Clinton in January. Her timing—just as a wave of uprisings was gathering steam—was uncanny. In a raucous town-hall meeting in Yemen, Clinton addressed how young girls can contribute to a society desperate for change. Later, at a stop in Papua New Guinea, she surprised her own entourage when she pushed the nation’s prime minister to take domestic abuse seriously—and said she’d be dispatching her deputy for women’s affairs, Melanne Verveer, to check up on his progress.

“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century,” Clinton tells Newsweek.”

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-03-06/hillary-clintons-mission-to-help-women-and-girls-worldwide-1/#

March 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

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