JMEWS: Journal of Middle East Women's Studies

Journal of Middle East Women's Studies
Volume 2, Number 2, Spring 2006
Special Issue: Women's Activism and the Public Sphere
Guest Editor: Valentine M. Moghadam and Fatima Sadiqi



    Moghadam, Valentine M., 1952-
    Sadiqi, Fatima.
  • Women's Activism and the Public Sphere: Introduction and Overview
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    Subject Headings:
    • Muslim women -- Middle East -- Social conditions.
    • Muslim women -- Middle East -- Political activity.
    • Women's rights -- Middle East.
    • Women in public life -- Middle East.
    Browers, Michaelle, 1968-
  • The Centrality and Marginalization of Women in the Political Discourse of Arab Nationalists and Islamists
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    Subject Headings:
    • Nationalism -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Women's rights -- Religious aspects -- Islam.
    • Muslim women -- Yemen (Republic) -- Political activity.
    • Women's rights -- Yemen (Republic)
      A series of forums have put Arab nationalists and Islamists in dialogue and contributed to the construction of discursive frames that facilitate cooperation in mobilizing support and in confronting various issues of common concern. However, the "women question" presents a consistent point of contention—and one that continually emerges, despite attempts to avoid or shelve the issue. This article examines how the discursive frames that sustain this cross-ideological alliance both hinder a substantial engagement of women and women's interests at that same time that they render the issue of women unavoidable. In the context of a cross-ideological oppositional alliance in Yemen that has been largely fostered by the conferences, this enduring tension over women seems to have created just enough space to push the issue of women's right to representation as political candidates forward among all the parties to the alliance.
    Skalli, Loubna H., 1962-
  • Communicating Gender in the Public Sphere: Women and Information Technologies in the MENA Region
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    Subject Headings:
    • Mass media and women -- Middle East.
    • Mass media and women -- Africa, North.
    • Women -- Middle East -- Social conditions.
    • Women -- Africa, North -- Social conditions.
      This paper discusses the public sphere in the Middle East and North Africa from the perspective of women's uses of information and communication technologies. I argue that the sociopolitical transformations unfolding in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa are not taking place in the absence of women's contribution and participation. Drawing on examples from different countries, I demonstrate how women are shaping, impacting, and redefining the public sphere by producing alternative discourses and images about womanhood, citizenship, and political participation in their societies. Crusading female journalists, feminist film producers/directors, publishers, and feminist cyber "bloggers" are strategically using old and new media to participate in the production and dissemination of alternative knowledge and the creation of transgressive spaces.
    Cheref, Abdelkader.
  • Engendering or Endangering Politics in Algeria? Salima Ghezali, Louisa Hanoune, and Khalida Messaoudi
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    Subject Headings:
    • Ghezali, Salima.
    • Hanoune, Louisa, 1954-
    • Messaoudi, Khalida, 1958-
    • Women in politics -- Algeria -- History -- 20th century.
    • Women's rights -- Algeria.
      When, in the early 1990s, Ali Benhadj, the most media-exposed Algerian opponent and the second-in-command in the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS), declared that "Louisa Hanoune is the only man in the Algerian opposition," he meant to deride the rest of the opposition to the regime in Algeria. Equally, he acknowledged the rise of active women who have been fighting to make their voices heard and to break into the public sphere, which has so often been judged as men's sphere.

      Armed with professional expertise, social science data, and political commitment, these women campaigned for sociopolitical change and denounced injustices, abuses of power, and political violence. Yet, women like Salima Ghezali, Louisa Hanoune and Messaoudi Khalida developed different definitions and visions of sociopolitical progress, and those differences led to conflict. Paradoxically, these divisions multiplied the forms of their activism and thereby expanded their influence in the public sphere.

      Of course, not all these women activists were critical; fundamental tendencies in a postcolonial context, I want to make a clear-cut distinction between "functional women activists," who serve to reproduce and legitimate the values of the regime, and "critical-oppositional women," who oppose and combat the existing order.

      This paper also explores the ways the Algerian regime has tried to maneuver women's organizations, such as the main state association, whose raison d'être supposedly represents women's needs within a gendered civil society, and how many women leaders have been instrumental in keeping a modern façade.

    Sadiqi, Fatima.
    Ennaji, Moha.
  • The Feminization of Public Space: Women's Activism, the Family Law, and Social Change in Morocco
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    Subject Headings:
    • Feminism -- Morocco.
    • Domestic relations -- Morocco.
    • Public spaces -- Morocco.
    • Women in public life -- Morocco.
    • Women's rights -- Morocco.
      The Moroccan feminist movement has greatly feminized and democratized the public sphere in this country. An example of such a feminization is the recent 2004 Family Law reforms, which constitute the culmination of a long trajectory during which decision-makers, political parties, and other public actors made important contributions that led to the reforms. Admittedly, the feminist movement is not the sole actor behind the new and spectacular legal reforms, but this movement acted as the major pooling force behind it. This force is attested in triggering unprecedented public debates that preceded, accompanied, and followed the new Family Law; these debates involved practically all public actors ranging from social, to economic, religious, and political actors and, along with the Family Law, shows that women's feminist ideas and associations were inserting themselves in the public sphere, changing the terms of participation in this sphere, and making women and gender issues a matter of national dialogue and contention for the first time in Morocco's history.
    Malt, Carol.
  • Women, Museums, and the Public Sphere
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    Subject Headings:
    • Museums and women -- Jordan.
    • Museums and women -- Morocco.
    • Women -- Jordan -- Social conditions.
    • Women -- Morocco -- Social conditions.
      As more women enter the museum profession in the MENA countries, they are using their influence as instruments of change to put forward issues of women's equality in museum programs, displays, and publications and thus ultimately help shape the future image and status of women.

Book Reviews

    Root, Margaret Cool.
  • Helen of Tus: Her Odyssey from Idaho to Iran (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bakhtiar, Laleh, 1938- Helen of Tus: her odyssey from Idaho to Iran: purple faded mountains, gathered letters.
    • Bakhtiar, Shireen, 1930-
    • Bakhtiar, Helen Jeffreys, 1905-1973.
    Stephan, Rita.
  • Women and Globalization in the Arab Middle East: Gender, Economy and Society (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Doumato, Eleanor Abdella, ed. Women and globalization in the Arab Middle East: gender, economy, and society.
    • Posusney, Marsha Pripstein, ed.
    • Women in development -- Middle East.
    Dankel, Tara Marie.
  • Resistance, Repression and Gender Politics in Occupied Palestine and Jordan (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Hasso, Frances Susan. Resistance, repression, and gender politics in occupied Palestine and Jordan.
    • Jabhah al-Dimuqratiyah li-Tahrir Filastin.
    Abaza, Mona.
  • Creating the New Egyptian Woman: Consumerism, Education and National Identity 1863-1922 (review)
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    Subject Headings:
    • Russell, Mona L. Creating the new Egyptian woman: consumerism, education, and national identity, 1863-1922.
    • Women -- Egypt -- Social conditions.


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