Is being an Arab and a feminist a contradiction?

It never crossed my mind to ask that, but here are a few answers, and of course it is not a contradiction.

(via @nmoawad)

This video was taken at the launch of the Young Arab Feminist Network that took place from April 29 to May 2, 2010. Here is an interesting article on it.

This is from the YAFN site:

We recognize that Arab young women face particular challenges and experiences of sexism. We also recognize the fragmentation and elitism of women’s rights work in Arab societies. The group of us believes that an organized support network uniting young women activists working on an array of issues concerning women rights and coming from various perspectives and backgrounds is the perfect way to push women’s rights organizing forward in the region.

Being beyond their age range myself, I was wondering about why there would be such a focus on young (they say “18 – early 30s”): I wondered whether there was some agism at play. They have a plausible answer for that. What I understand from the article is that one of the problems young arab feminists face is the connection with established feminist networks, that appear to suffer from the same kind of partriarchical structures that affects the rest of the society. They say:

Although we do believe that patriarchy affects everyone, we are a young women only network. This is because we believe that young women deal with specific issues and as a result have particular needs. We aim to provide the space for these issues to be untangled and have open conversations without worrying about navigating gender and age dynamics.

I hope they will not only manage to establish a better understanding with their previous generations, but also with those outside the Arab world: it would be mutually beneficial. I am looking forward to hearing of their successes.

2 thoughts on “Is being an Arab and a feminist a contradiction?

  1. So interesting. Thanks!

    I suppose “age dynamics” may vary so much from culture to culture that we do not necessarily have much understanding of what she is referring to.

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