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The veil in Ancient Middle Eastern/Western Asian Cultures

Today, veiling is a globally polarizing issue, and a locus for the struggle between contemporary and traditional interpretations of Islam. But veiling was a practice long before Islam. Veiling— of women, of men, and of sacred places and objects—has existed in countless cultures and religions. This article introduces to the use and symbolism of the […]

Adultery in Lebanon: a Crime?

A question I have been asking for years , especially when I hear of women being publicly humiliated or murdered when caught in extra-marital relations or having sexual intercourse without being married, whereas men are generally ‘heroes’, or are easily forgiven for their acts – men are seen ‘naturally’ polygamous. Men and women are treated […]

« Transmettre la nationalité au conjoint et aux enfants »: un droit encore non acquis pour les Libanaises!

En tant que Libanaise vivant au Liban, je jouis certes d’une marge de liberté introuvable dans certains pays avoisinants. Je peux conduire une auto, enseigner à l’université, boire un kir royal dans un bar huppé de Beyrouth, me pavaner en mini-jupe en toute saison, fumer le cigare ou la pipe, débattre de sujets ‘sensibles’ en […]

Womanhood in Western Asia Cannot be Summarized in ‘Clichés’

Most Western Asian societies are struggling nowadays with social, political and economic crisis. They also suffer from diverse forms of discrimination (gender, religious, political, etc.) based partly on highly selective memories serving particular interests and ideological positions. However, there are spaces of dialogue and conviviality, and gender equality cases. Just as memory and identity support […]

Womanhood in Western Asia: A Journey to the Past

“In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth century, it was the battle against totalitarianism. We believe that in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world” (Nicholas D. Kristof, in Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide). In […]

Gentille ou Bad Girl?

Je vous écris pour vous faire part d’un problème que je constate dans nos sociétés moyen-orientales marquées par la violence, les guerres, la haine, et… l’absence ou la rareté de gentillesse, de gratuité, de charité, de spontanéité. Je vis à Beyrouth et je voyage souvent à Dubai, au Caire, et au Koweit. La superficialité, le […]

A University Workshop on Gender Stereotypes and Women’s Situations in the Middle East

I organized yesterday afternoon a group workshop involving my students at the Holy Spirit University (USEK, Lebanon) on gender stereotypes and women’s situations in the Middle East. First-of-its-kind activity in the Faculty of Theology and in the university! Here are the results: 1- Defining Gender Stereotypes ( Target Group: Women): – Women don’t know how […]

Women in Personal Status Laws: IRAQ, JORDAN, LEBANON, PALESTINE, SYRIA

Recommending the following study by Gihane Tabet (SHS Papers in Women’s Studies/ Gender Research – Gender Equality and Development Section, Division of Human Rights, Social and Human Sciences Sector, UNESCO, 2005). Introduction: The objective of this paper is to explain the legal system as it pertains to women’s rights in the Middle East. We will […]