Middle East Hub - Project News
From Tahrir Square to my Kitchen
Cairo has been blessed by an effervescence of protest and openness since Hosni Mubararak resigned and on 8 March 2011 a variety of demonstrations took place in the city. March 8 also marked the centenary of International Women's Day, but sadly, despite the new optimism for reform since the revolution, the women's peaceful commemoration of the day was the only group which was attacked, ridiculed, shouted down and chased from the square. Hania Sholkamy's commentary echoes the age old tensions between nationalist and feminist struggles and reminds us that a truly, free democracy must have women's rights as a central component of its agenda.
Read her diary entry from the day: From Tahrir Square to my Kitchen
Also see the Pathways Middle East Hub Blog for regular updates from Egypt and 'Women's Empowerment in the Egyptian Revolution', Hania Sholkamy for Ahram Online.
International Women's Day
On 8 March 2010 - International Women's Day - Hania Sholkamy, Pathways Middle East Hub Convenor reflects on women's ability to transform society and to fight for gender justice.
I am the Story
The “Ana el-Hekkayya” (I am the Story) project selected 20 trainees with varied backgrounds in journalism, short story writing, literary criticism and others, to be trained on gender issues.
The three-day training was held on 27-29 December 2009 and introduced a critical approach to women’s representations in popular culture. It provided the trainees with the theoretical and technical tools to deconstruct the stereotypical images of women and to reconstruct more positive ones. In addition it shed light on the effects of these stereotypes on women’s lives through writing stories that trace both empowering and disempowering experiences from participant's own lives. The workshop used qualitative research and case studies from Pathways projects in Egypt as material for creating new stories about women.
As a result of the workshop, 24 stories have been written from a gender sensitive perspective. These will be used either as part of a storytelling performance or will be published in other formats. A facebook group has been established for the participants to update each other on their subsequent writing. Mona Ibrahim Ali, the coordinator of the workshop, will be conducting a similar training for Pathways West Africa in Accra in August 2010.
Family Laws in the Middle East
The Social Research Center at the American University Cairo recently ran and were involved with hosting two back to back workshops on Family Law. The first one on 'Reforming Family Laws in the Middle East' aimed to disseminate the findings of the research that the SRC team has been conducting on the reforms in Egyptian family laws. The second, which ran from 9-11 January 2009, was hosted by The Oslo Coalition on Freedom of Religion or Belief on 'Guidelines for Islamic Family Law: Women’s Equality, Male Guardianship, and Legal Objectives'. See the Reforming Egyptian Personal Status Laws Report for more information.
Conditional Cash Transfer Workshop
On 30th and 31st January 2008, the Social Research Center (SRC) in Cairo hosted a workshop aimed at gathering insights and experiences for the design and implementation of a conditional cash transfer (CCT) pilot in Egypt. Both local and foreign experts (from Latin America and the UK) discussed current CCT programmes and how they could be adapted to suit the Egyptian social, political and economic landscape. See 'Introducing Empowering Conditional Cash Transfers to Egypt' workshop report for more information.
Talking Empowerment Workshops
On 4th and 5th January 2008, the Hub had their first Talking Empowerment in
Arabic workshop in Cairo. This was a meeting of editors and translators working on the Gender readers in Arabic. Also present were some translation theory academics.
From 13th to 15th January a second workshop was held in Om Durman in Sudan. The meeting included feminists, academics, activists
and politicians, and development workers and addressed the
difficulties of translating gender and empowerment both as a language
and as a political project. It was very well attended with about 30
participants and included many graduate students.
From 15 to 18th January the Hub held a feminist story telling workshop conducted by four trainers from the Women and Memory Forum. The meeting was oversubscribed and included actors, journalists, poets, students and feminists. It was well reported in the press and resulted in 20 extremely well written stories, three of which will feature in a Pathways programme performance by Women and Memory in June.