Women of the revolution
With August having been woman’s months, this year marks the 100th year of women’s advancement in education, law, human rights and commerce. Women’s movements all over the world have been creating and encouraging vigorous citizenship amongst various populations all over the world.
Surprisingly, ahead of this year’s celebrations, was the sudden rise in profile of Arab women. Building on years of activism, this saw women marching beside each other in the frontlines of the pro democracy demonstrations that were widespread throughout the Middle East and North Africa. These women played integral parts in the revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, where they vowed never to be marginalized by dogma of any kind.
“Arab women are often seen as either exotic belly dancers or covered head to toe in black veils-but rarely as the girl next door, “says author of the ‘The Beauty Myth’ Naomi Wolf. She adds that as a result of being tired of this notion, Arab women began building women’s networks, encouraging female voices and creativity and unswervingly influencing the Arab uprising that any new democracy failing to embrace women would not be accepted.
In doing so these women put themselves in danger. They contributed to the number of bodies that were filling public squares in protest across the region. They led marches and participated in human shields, in spite of sexist gender roles relegating women to be protected, kept home, and not participate in public, political, activity.They were arranging food deliveries, blankets, and medical help for the wounded. They also treated the injured in the streets and nursed them in their homes when they were too afraid to go to hospital.
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Written by Wendy Ngcobo