Halah Hamrani: The Saudi boxing instructor teaching women to ‘Fight Like a Girl’

Halah Al Hamrani is a Saudi martial arts instructor and owner of the FLAG (Fight Like a Girl) Boxing gym in Jeddah. A pioneer in the emerging Saudi women’s fitness industry, Halah teaches women to challenge themselves and push their limits. Women in Saudi Arabia have typically been discouraged from sports, but as the country starts … Continue reading Halah Hamrani: The Saudi boxing instructor teaching women to ‘Fight Like a Girl’

The Iranian women’s movement is seeing a slow revolution

It’s hard to imagine a society that prohibits the participation and viewing of sports based on gender. Unfortunately, this is the case in Iran. There was a brief period in 2006 when then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that women would be allowed to attend football matches, until Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei intervened and reinstated the ban. … Continue reading The Iranian women’s movement is seeing a slow revolution

Freedom Is an Inside Job: Iraqi Activist Zainab Salbi on how to heal the world

Zainab Salbi is an Iraqi humanitarian, author and activist who founded Women for Women International – a not-for-profit organisation supporting women in conflict-afflicted areas. Growing up in Baghdad, her parents’ reluctant friendship with Saddam Hussein cast a dark and repressive shadow over her childhood. Today, Salbi is telling her remarkable story in a brave and … Continue reading Freedom Is an Inside Job: Iraqi Activist Zainab Salbi on how to heal the world

The Omani village that’s empowering women through entrepreneurship

By Tone Delin Indrelid Just across the road from the serene looking green domed mosque on Sidab Road, there is a quaint little house. Its door is painted a calm blue and a blue sign indicates that you have reached the community centre of ‘Sidab Women.’ Sidab Women’s Sewing Group was founded in 2004 by … Continue reading The Omani village that’s empowering women through entrepreneurship

10 badass Middle Eastern women you need to know about on International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we’ve put together this list of 10 Middle Eastern women who are breaking barriers, shattering stereotypes and standing up for what they believe in. Prepare to be inspired... Masih Alinejad Masih Alinejad is an Iranian journalist, writer and women’s rights activist. In 2014, she launched the ‘My Stealthy Freedom’ movement, … Continue reading 10 badass Middle Eastern women you need to know about on International Women’s Day

The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

One of the greatest obstacles standing in the way of the pursuit of gender equality in the Middle East is the continued practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) in many regional countries. The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM across 30 countries, and that … Continue reading The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

Art as a means of recovery for the Yezidi women who escaped ISIL

Last summer, the Yezidis of northern Iraq marked the third anniversary of the attempted genocide of their people by the so-called Islamic State (ISIL). In August 2014, ISIL rampaged through their villages in Iraqi Kurdistan, killing the men en masse and taking the women and girls as slaves. These women and girls bore unimaginable suffering, … Continue reading Art as a means of recovery for the Yezidi women who escaped ISIL

“Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia

“Rain begins with a single drop.” If you’re looking for some inspiration this week, look no further than Saudi activist Manal Al Sharif’s recent book, Daring to Drive. It tells the story of a fearless Saudi woman who went from living in a poverty, to being radicalised by her extremist education, to risking her life … Continue reading “Driving while female”: Manal Al Sharif and the fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia

Amal Al Raisi – The fashion designer taking Khaleeji style to the runways of Paris and Torino

Omani business graduate Amal Al Raisi found a career in fashion totally by accident while working for a government ministry in Muscat. After searching for a wedding dress and becoming frustrated at the lack of choice, she decided to design her own. The dress was so popular that she began designing for her family and … Continue reading Amal Al Raisi – The fashion designer taking Khaleeji style to the runways of Paris and Torino

Cairo’s Ballerinas are redefining Egyptian society

In 2015, Egyptian filmmaker Mohamed Taher had an idea. Inspired by New York City’s Ballerina Project, Taher wanted to show a different side to the Egyptian capital, which has in recent years played host to headline grabbing protests, instances of sexual abuse and terrorist attacks. He discussed his idea with photographer Ahmed Fathy and dancer … Continue reading Cairo’s Ballerinas are redefining Egyptian society