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

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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

“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

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

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