Farewell, Damascus: On the Road to Freedom

By Katie Holland As Ghada Samman’s headstrong heroine Zain discovers, winning her right to live as a free, independent woman entails answering to her own moral compass, fending off constant unsolicited judgement and, naturally, finding her way around a revolver. In this story of a young woman’s bold and noble quest for freedom, Samman weaves … Continue reading Farewell, Damascus: On the Road to Freedom

Advertisements

7 natural beauty secrets from the Middle East and North Africa

The Middle East and North Africa are home to some of the world’s best natural beauty recipes and rituals. These seven beauty secrets have been used across the region for centuries by the likes of original beauty queens Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba. They are now being bottled and sold by some of the … Continue reading 7 natural beauty secrets from the Middle East and North Africa

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 2018, 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’ … 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

Today is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone FGM across 30 countries, and that an additional 3 million girls are at risk of undergoing the practice every year. Many people believe that FGM … Continue reading The painful truth about FGM in the Middle East

Leena Al Ayoobi – The Bahraini artist recreating the image of women in the Gulf

Contrary to common stereotypes, there was a time when bright colours reigned in the Arabian Peninsula, before the black abaya became fashionable. Self-taught Bahraini artist Leena Al Ayoobi takes us back to these roots in her paintings, portraying beautifully the vibrancy of Arabic culture and highlighting the diversity and individuality of Arab women that is … Continue reading Leena Al Ayoobi – The Bahraini artist recreating the image of women in the Gulf

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

Shift – 3 female Saudi artists reflect on their changing culture in a London exhibition

Since the discovery of oil in the 1930s, life in Saudi Arabia has changed beyond recognition. What was once a traditional subsistence economy has become the linchpin of the global energy industry. Oil revenues have translated over the years into massive government spending, with gleaming new cities shooting up in place of previously modest, sleepy … Continue reading Shift – 3 female Saudi artists reflect on their changing culture in a London exhibition