Category Archives: Global Problems

Recent Middle Eastern Gender Attitudes: Women’s Place is in the Home

A survey that doesn’t offer much hope for the future, the UN Women and Promundo survey of 10,000 people in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon and Palestine reported in 2017 that 87 percent of Egyptian men and 77 percent of Egyptian women believed that women’s role is to “care for the home” and 90 percent of men and 58.5 percent of women believed that men should make the final decisions (El-Behary, 2017). Over half the men and one-third of women thought that women sometimes deserve to be beaten and half the women and 70 percent of men supported female genital cutting (FGM). Only a quarter of the men and 42 percent of women believed that women should have the same freedom to access the Internet.

Younger men were not more liberal; the study authors suggested that the difficult economic situation produced a backlash as unemployed men feel insecure about their masculinity and they were raised in an increasingly conservative Islamic climate. Younger men were more opposed to women politicians than older men. About half of the women in the four countries also had traditional views, although educated people are more likely to support gender equality.

On the hopeful side of the survey, two-thirds of Egyptian men surveyed supported gender equity in education, equal pay for both genders and were willing to work with women. Three-quarters of Egyptian women wanted the same right to work; however, the study showed that almost 90 percent of women believed that men’s employment is more important “if employment is scarce,” which it is. Many more Egyptian women believed that women could be the leaders of political parties, 76 percent compared to 39 percent of men.  As long as Egyptians vote for a military “pharaoh” inequality will remain.

El-Behary, H. (May 8, 2017). 87 percent of Egyptian men believe women’s basic role is to be housewives. The Independent. Retrieved from

http://www.egyptindependent.com/87-egyptian-men-believe-women-s-basic-role-be-housewives-study/

Suggested Reading

Nermin Allam. Women and the Egyptian Revolution: Engagement and Activism during the 2011 Arab Uprisings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2017

Mona Prince and Samia Mehrez. Revolution Is My Name: An Egyptian Woman’s Diary from Eighteen Days in Tahrir by 2015. (Prince ran for president of Egypt in 2012.) Cairo, Egypt: The American University in Cairo Press, 2015.

Samia Mehrez. Translating Egypt’s Revolution: The Language of Tahrir. Cairo, Egypt: The American University in Cairo Press, 2012.

Samia Mehrez, ed. Arts and the Uprising in Egypt: the Making of a Culture of

Ahdaf Soueif. Cairo: My City, Our Revolution. London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012.

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Saudi TV Reporter Has to Flee Because of her Clothes

Young Indian Changemakers

Youth Ki Awaaz is proud to collaborate with The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) programme to bring to you powerful video stories of 10 such young people from across India – through our short documentary series, #Restless4Change.

These are inspiring stories of determination that represent the idea that we can all create a positive impact on the world.

Over the course of the next week, we will be sharing with you two such inspiring stories a day – and trust me, they will give you hope that it’s possible to create a better tomorrow.

Check out the video stories here, and let me know what you think about them.

Recent Indian Feminism

In her book New Feminisms in South Asian Social Media, Film, and Literature (2017 written with Sonora Jha), Professor Alka Kurian listed recent feminist actions, which she sees as a “radically new kind of feminist politics” inspired by the concept of rights and the tactics of youth-led protests since the Arab Spring of 2011. Mainstream feminism hadn’t focused on sexual harassment (called Eve-teasing), but rather child marriage, abortion of girls, and dowry violence (such as brides burned to death in supposedly accidental kitchen fires). Kurian traces the contemporary willingness to address this issue to the arrival of Western media and increase in the number of independent women professionals during economic liberalization in the 1990s and the resulting backlash from conservatives–including increase in violence against women. Like other recent social movements, there’s emphasis on intersectional issues including caste (rights for Dalits) and religion (equality for Muslims). Kurian sees the concern for the rights of minorities as the Fourth Wave of Indian feminism. She gives examples of recent campaigns that generate increasing support:

 

2003: Blank Noise Project against Eve-teasing

2009: Pink Chaddi (panties) movement

2011: SlutWalks

2011: Why Loiter Project on women’s right to public spaces

2012: The gang rape of Delhi student incited huge protests and new legislation with harsher punishment of rapists.

2015: Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) movement against curfews for women in student dorms

2017: Bekhauf Azadi (Freedom Without Fear) March

2017: #MeToo led by younger actresses about Bollywood abuse.

Recent Feminism in India by Alka Kurian

https://theconversation.com/metoo-is-riding-a-new-wave-of-feminism-in-india-89842?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20February%201%202018%20-%2093758012&utm_content=Latest%20from%20The%20Conversation%20for%20February%201%202018%20-%2093758012+CID_560a2d79abaa6c1c08f7e933e33ac961&utm_source=campaign_monitor_us&utm_term=MeToo%20is%20riding%20a%20new%20wave%20of%20feminism%20in%20India

#MeToo Around the World

Women around the world joined #MeToo in to post their stories on social media, including in Egypt, Lebanon, Pakistan and India. French women called their campaign “Expose Your Pig” (#BalanceTonPorc). It became more controversial when actress Catherine Deneuve and 100 other women published a letter in January of 2018 criticizing the movement for being too Puritan and a witch hunt while supporting male flirting and gallantry. Chinese feminist “silence breakers” who tried to organize their own #MeToo movement with petitions demanding investigation into sexual harassment and Internet logos of fists with painted nails were blocked by government censors who deleted petitions and blocked social media use of phrases like “anti-sexual harassment” or “#MeTooChina. They also demanded more women in high office. “We are angry and shocked,” declared activist Zhang Leilei, age 24.[i] Journalist Sophia Huang Xueqin, 30, created a social media platform to report sexual harassment, observing, “We’re not brave enough to stand out as one individual. But together, we can be strong.” One brave individual, Luo Xixi posted an online essay read by more than three million people, describing sexual harassment by her professor at Beihang University. She moved to the US.

Muslim women started #DearSister to express their voices. In Pakistan, the controversial film Verna (2017) tells the story of a teacher who is abducted and raped by the son of a governor. The Central Board of Film Censors banned the film for “maligning state institutions,” but an appellate board lifted the ban due to the #UnbanVerna campaign.

[i] Javier Hernandez and Zoe Mou, “’Me Too,’ Chinese Women Say,” New York Times, January 23, 2018.