“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

Letters from Baghdad: The female Lawrence of Arabia that the history books ignored

Any student or observer of the Middle East has likely heard of a young man named T.E. Lawrence, whose integration into the tribes of Arabia in the early 20th century helped shape the current reality of this turbulent region. His famous work, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, has become essential reading for anyone interested in the Middle … Continue reading Letters from Baghdad: The female Lawrence of Arabia that the history books ignored

Lebanese women push back against the law that allows rapists to escape prison by marrying their victims

An eerie sight met the eyes of those walking along Beirut’s picturesque corniche last week. 31 wedding dresses billowed in the breeze, hung from trees on the seafront by activists protesting a controversial loophole in the country’s law on rape. The wedding dresses represent the latest in a string of protests in Lebanon and the … Continue reading Lebanese women push back against the law that allows rapists to escape prison by marrying their victims

8 TED Talks to get you through Trump’s first week – and inspire you to #resist

Ever since Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States last Friday, the simple act of checking the news has become a distressing activity for millions of people both inside America and worldwide. Since his inauguration Trump has signed executive order after executive order, launching a terrifying campaign against freedom of information … Continue reading 8 TED Talks to get you through Trump’s first week – and inspire you to #resist

Online Shame: Women’s Empowerment and Modern Techniques of Repression

By Francesca Kelsall As Internet access across the world becomes more and more pervasive, the use of social media is growing exponentially. Whilst some of the consequences of this development are positive, such as access to information, others are much more sinister. The BBC has recently launched an investigation entitled “Sex, Honour and Blackmail in … Continue reading Online Shame: Women’s Empowerment and Modern Techniques of Repression

Breaking barriers and challenging social norms: Menstrual health and education in Tanzania

Education: The chance to gain an understanding of the world; the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge on which to build a career; a fundamental human right, taken for granted by those who enjoy its benefits. It is not news to anyone that education is one of the most fundamental areas of inequality worldwide. … Continue reading Breaking barriers and challenging social norms: Menstrual health and education in Tanzania