South Sudanese soldiers allowed to rape women in lieu of wages and an UN Security Council resolution that calls for the repatriation of peacekeeping units whose troops face allegations of sexual abuse. These are the most recent (almost uncovered) news that give evidence of the widespread and systemic sexual exploitation and abuse that occurs not only during conflicts, but also in conflict resolution operations. Atrocities that a group of women from all over the world are trying to fight, increasing female role in the field of international security. A group of women who can now count on the Italian branch, just launched in the Italian Senate by Lia Quartapelle, a Democratic Party young MP, and Irene Fellin, a very active gender expert, Executive Director of Women in International Security (WIIS). «While living in the States working on gender, I was fascinated by WIIS activity and I found my mission: come back home to create the Italian branch» said Irene.
Storica specializzata negli studi di genere sul Medio Oriente e il mondo islamico, Margot Badran è senior fellow al Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding presso la Georgetown University e senior scholar al Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars di Washington. Badran ha svolto ricerche, scritto e insegnato la storia dei femminismi in Egitto, Medio Oriente e altre parti del mondo arabo. Fra gli altri, ha pubblicato i saggi Feminists, Islam, and Nation: Gender and the Making of Modern Egypt, e Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing di cui è co-editor. Badran, doppia cittadinanza egiziana-americana, era al Cairo all’inizio della rivoluzione a gennaio, dove si trova ancora per lavorare a un libro su donne e genere nella rivoluzione egiziana. La sua ricerca, che si svolge mentre la rivoluzione è ancora in corso, promette di fornire spunti interessanti sulla partecipazione delle donne nella rivoluzione, gli sforzi degli attivisti uomini, e riflessioni sulle questioni di genere al centro di un progetto rivoluzionario. Resetdoc ha incontrato Margot Badran al Cairo, a pochi giorni dal voto del 28 novembre che ha segnato l’inizio delle prime legislative del dopo Mubarak. Con lei ha discusso del ruolo delle donne nella rivoluzione e le sfide per costruire un nuovo Egitto.Tutti gli articoli di Margot Badran su Resetdoc
Constant attention to the world of women, to Indian social situations and policies that are only now slowly changing; violence, rape, or threats made against women, only nowadays at times reported with all the risks and dangers this involves, are words the Bengali director Aparna Sen, born in 1945, has always used with the special attention she has always paid to social issues and especially the feminine universe.
The debate on full veils – burqas and niqabs – in British courts and British schools was always bound to happen. The issue flared up a few years ago following some remarks by Jack Straw but it had not yet turned into a discussion over the possibility of a French style umbrella ban. Politicians such as Phillip Hollobone, Jeremy Browne and Nick Clegg seem to propose something along these lines. Yet, I believe, this country will not eventually generate a law similar to the French one in force since 2011. If it did, it would not be beneficial, but it is still important that we have this discussion.
The international attention given this month to the scourge of violence against women was highlighted in neon by the spike in physical and sexual attacks against women in streets and public squares in Egypt. Young women, along with outraged young men, are taking matters into their own hands trying to provide security and fighting back in the absence of efforts by the Islamist-headed state, which seems more involved safeguarding itself than its citizens. We see the Muslim Brothers fiercely protecting their headquarters under attack, including roughing up women, they who pretend to value women. Instead of joining efforts to stop violence against women, demonstrating genuine concern for women, the Muslim Brothers seized the occasion of the UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting to blast these global efforts and flex their patriarchal muscle.
Amina Wadud is an Afro-American scholar of Islam, Quran exegesis and a pillar for Islamic feminists. She was born to a Christian family, converted to Islam and addressed mixed-gender congregations, delivering a sermon in South Africa in 1994, and leading Friday prayers in the United States in 2005. At a London Conference on Women’s Leadership in Islam and Christianity she spoke about equality and equity.
Kabul - In spite of progress made since 2001, Afghan women still have a long route to travel. Nowadays they hold important institutional positions and in many cases have managed to achieve emancipation and set the foundations for a freer professional future. But these are still individual cases in a country in which the situation experienced by women, especially in rural areas, it still extremely difficult.
There are little girls who dream of their wedding gowns and there are others who are already married by the age of eight and sometimes even younger, but their stories involve neither frogs nor knights in shining armour. There are girls who are prevented from receiving an education and when claiming their rights are punished, disfigured with acid or, as recently happened to the young student Malala Yousafzai, shot and seriously wounded. Other girls are sold or made to become prostitutes, abroad or in local brothels, while others instead suffer barbaric genital mutilations.
Casablanca, 2010 – “Every Arab man is a modernist until you talk about his own wife! Nouzha Guessous laughs while she explains that: “traditionalism is spread amongst modernists, not only amongst Fundamentalists”. Aware of that, not purely Arab reality, she and others nevertheless succeeded in creating the most innovative, women friendly family law in the Arab world. Appointed by King Mohamed VIth in 2002, this energetic Moroccan scientist, expert in bioethics and human rights activist, has been one of the driving forces in the Commission that brought to live this courageous law, the new Family Code “Moudawana”. Even opposed by a minority of fundamentalist Islamic women and political organizations, this law found a wide consensus not only amongst secular Moroccans, but was much sustained by Muslims. A kind of “Muslim feminism” emerged in this process. Nouzha Guessous had understood through the interactive, demanding process, that a purely secular system of law would never have been accepted.This interview was published in Italian in our magazine Reset n.117, January-February 2010.
The youth-driven Revolution of 2011, with its call for freedom and justice, is inscribing a new feminism, with a fresh lexicon and syntax. The new feminism—which does not go by the name “feminism,” but by its spirit—redefines the words freedom, liberation, justice, dignity, democracy, equality, and rights.
Margot Badran is one of the most widely-known scholars of Islamic feminism. A historian by training, she has authored many books including: Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences (Oneworld Press, Oxford, 2009). She is a Senior Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington DC and a Senior Fellow at the Prince Alwaleed ibn Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand she speaks about the trajectory of Islamic feminism some two decades after it surfaced as a named phenomenon and where she sees it now headed.
On April 2nd in Nantes, a 31-year-old woman wearing the niqab while driving her car was fined by the police for violating traffic laws. According to the policeman who stopped her, her attire did not permit her to ‘drive comfortably.' The result was a very lively debate with an angry exchange between Tariq Ramadan and Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux. The government’s anti-burqa draft law, however, has been welcomed positively by the Association for the Defence of Women’s Rights “Ni putes, Ni soumises” (neither prostitutes nor submissive). Only a few days ago Belgium passed a law forbidding the full veil in all public places.