An activist takes part in a demonstration against sexual harassment, rape and domestic violence in the Lebanese capital Beirut on December 7, 2019. (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Images)

Forging a Gender Equal World: Women in MENA

March 8 marks International Women’s Day, a global opportunity to shed light on the ways in which advocates are systematically challenging the roots of gender inequality and forging societies and systems that protect the equal rights of women. In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, lawyers, activists, scholars, and civil society advocates are playing critical roles in combating the sources of discrimination affecting women’s everyday lives, from the workplace to the home. 

In this Q&A series, TIMEP speaks to women from and in the region about the work that they do and the ways in which they’d like to see their governments and the international community act.

  • Zoya Rouhana discusses the role that women are playing in the public sphere in Lebanon, the systematic issues at the heart of women’s inequality on personal status issues, and the ways in which KAFA and other civil society organizations are proposing systematic reforms.
  • Dr. Rouba Mhaissen presents the issues that Syrian women refugees face in Lebanon, particularly compounded following the spread of COVID-19 and the Beirut Blast, and the role that the international community should be playing in protecting their rights.
  • Lobna Darwish outlines the challenges and issues impeding women’s equal rights in Egypt—from the economy to sexual and gender-based violence; discusses the history and role of women’s rights organizations and feminist movements in the country; and presents a series of recommendations for Egyptian authorities.
  • Malaz Emad discusses Sudan’s critical moment, the role of women in the resistance, and the steps that need to be taken to bring about gender equality in any future vision for the country.
  • Ikram Ben Said presents the current status of women’s political participation in Tunisia, and the new obstacles they now face in light of president Kais Saied’s latest political and legislative decisions.