Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘International Women’s Day

Proud Arab/Moslem women atheists?

A number of Arab and Iranian women staged an unusual protest in the Louvre Art Museum’s Square to call for equality and secularism on the occasion of the International Women’s Day.

Arab, Iranian women protest naked in Paris

Waleed Al-Husseini posted this March 8, 2014
Maryam Namazie cut out Allah from the flag of Iran Islamic regime
Tunisian activist Amina sboui, Egyptian Alia al-Mahdi, Iranian Maryam Namazia and five other Arab and Iranian women demonstrated fully naked and called, in French, for freedom, equality and secularism.
End sex apartheid
Follow the arrow: Your Honor is there.
I am terrified at the Islamists’ behavior

First Palestinian flashmob- women’s international day
Women marched against family violence: Lebanon, March 8, 2014. And shocking statistics

The earliest Women’s Days were held in the first decade of 20th century. This was before women had the vote, before women could legally terminate a pregnancy.

In the UK, it was only ten years since a married woman could legally own her own property, rather than be property herself. Marie Curie was yet to become the first woman to win the Nobel Prize.

More than a century later and it’s tempting to see International Women’s Day as redundant, a celebratory event at best.

Why do we need the event at all?

The causes that triggered those first campaigns have been fought and won.

Women in today’s society have all the equality they could ever need, right? Wrong.

Women own less than 2% of properties and less than 10% of total revenue for working 60% more than males.

Women in Lebanon marched against family violence and the urgency for laws that punish the perpetrators.

So moved seeing photos on my wall of all the wonderful people filling the streets today to demand equal rights for Lebanese women, and end this horrible state of patriarchy.
This was our rallying cry today! With no politician to support. People of Lebanon, you still give me hope
Leah Choueiry's photo.
Excellent turn out at the demonstration to have a law against violence against women ‪#‎womensrights‬ ‪#‎lebanon‬ ‪#‎kafa‬ ‪#‎whpwomenwhoinspire‬
Excellent turn out at the demonstration to have a law against violence against women #womensrights #lebanon #kafa #whpwomenwhoinspire
Reine Azzi added 9 new photos — with Rania Hammoud and 4 others.
Excellent demonstration today! Turn-out, messages, creativity…
This gives me hope! It’s a shame that we have to fight for a law that should be common sense! Against domestic abuse and violence!
A crime is a crime, regardless of whether it happens on the street or behind bedroom doors. ‪#‎Womensrights‬ ‪#‎kafa‬ ‪#‎Lebanon‬
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Reine Azzi's photo.
Cynthia Choucair was tagged in Salam Hammoud‘s photo.
Salam Hammoud's photo.
March 7, 2014

International Women’s Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important

International Women’s Day is still needed to motivate change, at home and abroad. Some of these statistics put into sharp relief just how far we still have to go.


Globally, about one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime. About 44% of all UK women have experienced either physical or sexual violence since they were 15-years-old.

Britain ranks among the worst countries in Europe when it comes to women being violently abused.

On average, 30% of women who have been in a relationship report that they have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner.

38% of all murders of women worldwide are committed by a woman’s intimate partner.

A UN report said 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt had been subjected to sexual harassment.

Female Genital Mutilation

This is where girls have either all or part of their clitoris and inner and outer labia sliced off without anaesthesia, and sometimes have part of their vaginas sewn up too.

Over 130 million women living in the world today have undergone Female Genital Mutilation.

There as as many as 24,000 girls are at risk of cutting in the UK.

In one Birmingham hospital as many as 40 to 50 women every month are treated after undergoing female genital mutilation.


Around 14 million girls, some as young as eight years old, will be married in 2014.

An estimated 1.2m children are trafficked into slavery each year; 80 per cent are girls.

In 10 countries around the world women are legally bound to obey their husbands

Only 76 countries have legislation that specifically addresses domestic violence – and just 57 of them include sexual abuse.

Working rights

In the UK, the gender pay gap stands at 15%, with women on average earning £5,000 less a year than their male colleagues.

The disparity is even greater in part time jobs, going up to 35 per cent.

Globally only a 24 per cent of senior management roles are now filled by women.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission estimates it will take 70 years at the current rate of progress to see an equal number of female and male directors of FTSE 100 companies.

This hurts everyone. The gender gap in certain industries is even more apparent and damaging.

Zemach Getahun estimates that closing the gender gap in agriculture could reduce the number of hungry people in the world by 12-17 per cent.

If the skills and qualifications of women who are currently out of work in the UK were fully utilised, the UK could deliver economic benefits of £15 to £21 billion pounds per year – more than double the value of all our annual exports to China.

Women at the heart of struggle

Roqayah Chamseddine wrote on March 8:
Women duck from tear gas canisters at Women's Day rally

Israeli forces fire tear gas at an International Women’s Day rally at Qalandiya checkpoint near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, 8 March 2012. (Issam Rimawi APA images)

“Despite the establishment of stale Orientalist campaigns created in the name of women’s liberation in the Middle East and North Africa, the existence of enduring, self-sufficient women in the region has far-reaching historical context.

The search for female Middle East voices among pundits in the mainstream media echoes the same tired “Palestinian Gandhi” cliché.

Analysts have long used Lawrence of Arabia exotics as a means to portray the women of the Arab world:  if they are not subservient housewives they are coy and reserved daughters, sheltered and locked away by the domineering male figures in the household.

These conjectures are not false in their entirety, but they are also not unique to one specific region, culture, religion or people.

The pervasive Western tradition of characterizing an entire community by certain traits, which their Western audiences can ooh and ahh at, has helped manufacture a plethora of distortions.

History confirms that Arab women have long played an active political role in their societies.

From Egyptian women who demonstrated alongside men during the Egyptian Revolution of 1919, against British occupation of Egypt and Sudan, to resistance fighter Jamila Bu Hreid of Algeria.

Bu Hreid was nearly tortured to death by French occupation forces during the Algerian revolution and independence movement which lasted from 1954 to 1962 and resulted in Algeria gaining its independence from France.

South Lebanon, liberated in 2000 after nearly 22 years of Israeli occupation, was also home to female political action. Lebanese women would quietly supply resistance fighters with ammunition, often wrapping them across their stomachs before passing through Israeli checkpoints unnoticed.

An alluring token

As of late, the women of the Arab world are being actively pursued by journalists, media figures and political commentators as sort of stock characters to be featured in their next editorial or television broadcast.

Those usually courted by the media are there to reassert Orientalist theories, for a Western audience to relish in sheer amusement, because for many an outspoken and visible Arab woman is an alluring token.

This has much to do with the current state of the Middle East and North Africa, specifically the uprisings that have captured the hearts and minds of many across world.

Prior to the deposing of Tunisia’s Zine el Abidine Ben Ali there was little or no media attention given to Arab women in respect to what role they played in the region, besides being propagandized as second-class to their more aggressive male counterparts.

Although the media claims to be on a scavenger-hunt of sorts, in search of the dauntless women of the Middle East, there has always been little talk of female Palestinian heroines and their struggle against Israel’s brutal system of apartheid and occupation of their native land.

The Palestinian village of Bilin has hosted weekly unarmed demonstrations against the occupation of its land since 2005. For nearly 7 years, numerous men and women courageously have faced Israeli forces in order to prevent further colonization of their villages, the destruction of their resources and the subjugation of their people.

Jawaher Abu Rahmah, one of many women Palestinian protesters, was killed by Israeli forces after inhaling extensive amounts of tear gas during a demonstration in Bilin in 2011; she suffered from severe asphyxiation and poisoning caused by chemicals in the tear gas.

Abu Rahmah’s brother Bassem was killed in 2009 after a tear-gas canister was fired at his chest by an Israeli soldier during a similar village demonstration.

And today, Hana al-Shalabi, a 30-year-old Palestinian woman from Jenin, is on hunger strike to protest her administrative detention without charge by Israel.

Al-Shalabi has been subjected to beatings and humiliating treatment by Israeli forces and, despite having had her detention recently reduced from 6 months to four months since her hunger strike began three weeks ago, she has declared that her hunger strike will continue until her demand for freedom is met.

Womens’ compelling strength

The archetypal Arab women most often approved of, for the viewing pleasure of television audiences, is one which is confined to a subservient role: a coy, bashful creature whose raison d’etre is based on approval from a domineering male society.

This decayed misconception branding every aspect of Middle Eastern and North African society a homogeneous stereotype has long been refuted by women like Hana al-Shalabi and Jawaher Abu Rahmah, and a great number of others who are deliberately ignored by the mainstream media.

Women of the Middle East and North Africa are of compelling strength, doubtless courage and incorruptible dignity. History is laden with prominent female activists, poets, authors and political figures from this region who have long existed, despite the deliberate evasion of their stories and in the printing their names, and they will continue to exist.

Roqayah Chamseddine is a US-based Lebanese-American journalist, commentator and activist.

Eve Coulon commented:

“Yeah, but they don’t seem to have capitalize on their participation, especially in Egypt and Libya. To always look out how the west wrongly portrays middle eastern women is again to be fighting the wrong enemy.
Why should the women care what the west think of them? Do I care about how some arab media portray western women (and that’s also often full of sweeping generalisations and misconceptions)?
Why write an article about that and not give a voice to these women and their struggle, write about what matters to them.
That’s the problem with the whole usual “foreign invisible hand” /anti western discourse since the beginning of the Arab uprising.  Not that it isn’t completely untrue, but it seems to be taking so much space in what is written from the middle east by middle eastern people, it just ends up perpetuating the same clichés and borrows from that very orientalist narrative that they want to denounce, of the indigenous people as being passive by-standers, victims of greater forces, victims of the foreign media, incapable of fending for themselves, incapable of writing their own history and so on….
Why lament about how others write about you, write your own histories, I personally would love to read about these female heroes.




December 2022

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