Tag Archives: Sexism

A New Feminist Wave in Lebanon or the Path to Democratization (By Pamela Chrabieh)

24 Feb

A New Feminist Wave in Lebanon or the Path to Democratization

The study of Feminist/Women’s movements not only contributes to our understanding of women’s experiences of political and social change, but also helps to bridge the gaps between local activism and feminist theory. Feminist claims and organizations in Lebanon and most Western Asian countries are not new, and credit for the growth of new Feminisms must go to its pioneers, the women who first came to see their inferior status in society and to understand that such inferiority was not a divinely ordained fate that they were obliged to accept.

I have recently published a book in Arabic on women’s status, experiences and situations in Ancient Western Asia (‘Womanhood in Western Asia, A Journey to the Past’, Beirut, Dar el Machreq, 2013), proving the long-existence of Patriarchal systems and mentality, but also, gender equality ‘spaces’ within ancient cultures and religions. Still, feminisms as social-political movements arose at the end of the nineteenth century, coinciding with that of the reformist movement. What those pioneering women achieved was not negligible, even if they focused on charitable work – except for Egypt with its Women’s Educational Society founded in 1881, and the Instructive Women’s Union in 1910, raising public awareness of women’s rights as a key objective. A second wave could be identified during the 1940s, a period marked by the resistance of Arab societies under imperialism, with most of the claims focusing on issues such as polygamy and women’s right to education. In Lebanon, the Lebanese Women’s Council came into being in 1943 and the Committee of Lebanese Women’s Rights in 1947.

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