This session titled “Feminist movements in the MENA Region” is part of a series of five webinars organized by the Political Feminism and Gender Office at FES between the months of June-August, 2022 , which brought together guest speakers, feminist activists and experts from the region to reflect on and provide feminist recommendations and alternatives to the post-Covid era. The discussion was moderated by Hayat Remmache, feminist, lawyer and project manager, and included the following panelists:
A sneak peek into the session: Covid-19 had a tremendous weight on women’s organizations in Morocco, where they found themselves, during the first months of lockdown, in a position of inability to cover the sharp increase in violence and to respond to the needs of women. However, they adapted rapidly and were eventually able to set up a toll-free number, and exert pressure on the relevant authorities to take into consideration the seriousness of the situation.
In Sudan, the pandemic made it possible to build the capacities of women activists and produce more relatable feminist discourses and practices. The pandemic allowed feminists, especially youth, to get closer to practice and theory by producing feminist discourses and ideas that aim to improve the situation of women and deconstruct the different forms of repression. Indeed, the increase of gender-based violence presented a last-straw moment that drove a great wave of protests against the absence of laws and mechanisms of protection of women and girls.
In order to have regional and transnational feminist movements, panelists recommended not to fragment conflicts and to go beyond imaginary borders while keeping the particularity of each country’s context.
Feminist movements should create and multiply meeting spaces that bridge inter-generational communication between feminists, as well as bridge the relationships between activists and academics by integrating allied men who are increasing in numbers within the different MENA countries. It was finally recommended to produce feminist knowledge in and for the MENA region to build a common understanding of struggles.