The Struggle of Devout Turkish Women for Full Citizenship

by Amelie Barras
published in MER262

In the spring of 2011, amidst vociferous debates over the prospect of a third term in office for the “Islam-friendly” Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey, a group of devout women launched an initiative called “No Headscarves, No Vote.” The activists demanded that all Turkish political parties include women wearing headscarves on their electoral lists. No fewer than 60 percent of Turkish women cover their heads in public, and the activists believed it was time these women had a place in formal politics. At the time, in fact, 50 of Parliament’s 550 members were women, and 30 of the women represented the AKP, but none of them wore a headscarf.

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Gender and Revolution in Egypt

by Mervat Hatem
published in MER261

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A Woman's Life on an Algiers Stage

by Susan Slyomovics
published in MER166

Algeria’s Islamist challenge to secularism and the populist revulsion against the corruption of the ruling National Liberation Front (FLN) form the background to “Fatma”, a one-woman show which premiered May 23, 1990, at the El-Mouggar theater in Algiers. “Fatma’’ recounts a day in the life of an Algerian washerwoman who is a maid and a servant to the state, to her employers and to her family.

Tawakkul Karman as Cause and Effect

by Stacey Philbrick Yadav | published October 21, 2011

Political activist Tawakkul Karman has brought Yemen’s revolution to New York, speaking directly on October 20 with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and organizing rallies at the United Nations headquarters in lower Manhattan, the largest of which is slated for the afternoon of October 21. The purpose of her visit is to keep pressure on the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution that reflects the aspirations of the overwhelming numbers of Yemenis who have sustained peaceful calls for change for the nine long months since protests began in late January. Arriving newly anointed by the Nobel Committee, which named her as one of three recipients of the 2011 Peace Prize, Karman fears -- as does much of the Yemeni opposition, in its many forms -- that the UN will merely reiterate the approximate parameters of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative put forth in April. That plan, which has enjoyed support from the United States, as well as Yemen’s GCC neighbors, would allow legal immunity for President ‘Ali ‘Abdallah Salih, whose crimes against Yemeni protesters have multiplied in the months since the spring. For this reason, Karman will end her week in New York as she has ended so many weeks in Sanaa in recent months -- at the head of a protest.  

Cooke, War's Other Voices

by Barbara Harlow
published in MER168

Miriam Cooke, War’s Other Voices: Women Writers on the Lebanese Civil War (Cambridge, 1988).

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Editor's Bookshelf

by Joel Beinin
published in MER170

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Women and the Stability of Saudi Arabia

by Eleanor Abdella Doumato
published in MER171

On November 6, 1990, some 50 women met in a supermarket parking lot in Riyadh. The women dismissed their drivers and drove their cars in tandem through the streets of Riyadh, defying publicly an unofficial but strictly observed ban on women’s driving. In Saudi Arabia, where women may not travel without permission from their nearest male relative, work where men are present or even enter most government ministries, and where political gatherings for everyone, men and women, are illegal, the driving demonstration was viewed as revolutionary.

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Feminism or Ventriloquism

by Zjaleh Hajibashi
published in MER172

Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke, eds., Opening the Gates: A Century of Arab Feminist Writing (Indiana, 1990).

Introduced by the editors as “the first collection of Arab women’s feminist writing,” Opening the Gates is both an important and problematic anthology. Following the basic format of two previous collections, Middle Eastern Muslim Women Speak and Women and the Family in the Middle East (both edited by Elizabeth Fernea, the first in collaboration with Basima Bezirgan), Margot Badran and Miriam Cooke seek to correct widespread misconceptions and ignorance about Middle Eastern women’s lives by presenting a collage of Middle Eastern women’s voices.

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Graham-Brown, Images of Women

by Maya Jaggi
published in MER173

Sarah Graham-Brown, Images of Women: The Portrayal of Women in Photography of the Middle East, 1860-1950 (Quartet, 1988).

The invention of photography in 1839 coincided, Sarah Graham-Brown observes, with a vigorous phase of European global expansion. Egypt and Palestine were among early testing grounds for the camera, which rapidly made its appearance throughout the Middle East.

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New Writing On Women, Politics and Social Change

by Sarah Graham-Brown
published in MER173

Deniz Kandiyoti, ed., Women, Islam and the State (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1991).

Seteney Shami, Lucine Taminian et al, Women in Arab Society: Work Patterns and Gender Relations in Egypt, Jordan and Sudan (Oxford: Berg, 1990).

Bouthaina Shaaban, Both Right and Left Handed: Arab Women Talk About Their Lives (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991).

Kitty Warnock, Land Before Honor: Palestinian Women in the Occupied Territories (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990).

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