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Feminist rebel voices in the Arab world, towards the road to equality

Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Elena Alfageme

Representatives of women's associations in North Africa and the Middle East in Madrid claimed the political support of the Spanish government in defense of the rights of women. They involved several local members of Alianza por la Solidaridad.

Participacion grupos mujeres Gaza_ 8 marzo 2014

"On the way to gender equality in North Africa and the Middle East." This was the titled used in Madrid´s celebration of the Gender Masar Program ("path" in Arabic). They were organized by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID) and the International Foundation and for Iberoamerica of Administration and Public Policy (FIIAPP). Together, they were able to gather 60 women from different countries including: Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine , Jordan and Lebanon to exchange their experiences of happiness and sadness in their fight for gender equality. Among them were some of the partners with whom Alianza por la Solidaridad worked with in the Arab world, such as Nadia Abu Nahla, of Women’s Affairs Technical Committees (Gaza), Aminatou Ely, from the Association des Femmes Chefs de Famille (Mauritania), and Layla Naffa, from Arab Women Organization (from Jordan).

Nawal el Saadawi,Egyptian feminist who convulsed the Arab feminism (and gave many lectures in Europe) with the publication of her works : La cara oculta de Eva.

Saadawi, a tiny white-haired woman of 84 years old,is full of strength as she attacked the whole system of domination, denouncing the multiple layers of discrimination that shape power relations that affect us (class, gender, ethnicity, age ...) and emphasizing above all the need to fight against the patriarchy, the capitalist system and the economic market which particularly affects the women. She spoked of criticizing the the structural policies as well as putting ecofeminism on the table a need for an economy that puts human rights above itself including reproduction and care that allow us to remain persons. A reflection from the Arab world that sounds too close...

There was a paradigm that a group had proposed about Gender policies and experiences from the Spanish cooperation there was no sign and therefore it was cancelled. We have no lessons to give, and they don´t need them. It tells us a lot about women who, in their own words, acknowledge the technical and financial support that has already been provided in recent years, but also requires political action. So, Palestinian demand that the Spanish government stops selling weapons to a state, Israel, which militarily occupies the life of his Palestinian people, all over the place there are night raids, incessant bombings last summer in the Gaza Strip); from other countries they demanded that Spain, through political agreements, pressure on Arab regimes to implement measures that actually involve progress in gender equality.

After the conference and exchange, they decided not to travel to Madrid under two conditions: one, the need to raise awareness and self orgnization of these women in order to create official policies of equality in their hometowns; and two, that the Spanish Government and AECID will supoprt this with technology and politics. There is foreshadowing to a solution in the near future as Alianza continues to support the movements of these women in North Africa and the Middle East.

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