How are feminists in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region reestablishing their revolutionary and highly political stance against patriarchal structures? How are they reaffirming their strong commitment to positively transform societies and create the just world they have imagined for decades?
Across the MENA region and the world, there is growing concern about the depoliticization of feminism. Neoliberal structural adjustment programs have been gradually taming feminist movements across the global south, and many argue that the professionalization and NGOization of feminism have shifted feminist activism away from its core commitment to the eradication of structural oppression toward issue and project-based actions. This has also resulted in feminist movements making demands that conform to neoliberalism, moving ever further away from the needs and aspirations of the majority of women in the region and creating a gap between feminist activism and feminist theory.
In many counties within the region, what has been dubbed "state feminism" has created glass ceilings, limiting the potential for fundamental feminist reforms which might be seen as a threat to the political or socioeconomic status quo. State feminism has undermined feminist movements through the portrayal of women as passive victims, actively reducing spaces for feminist mobilization, and hindering efforts that aim to achieve gender justice at the legislative level.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) supports feminists from across the region who are working toward repoliticizing their movements by producing more accessible feminist knowledge in formats such as podcasts, blogs, and campaigns to bridge the gap between feminist activism and research. The FES also aims to foster cross-border, cross-generational, and intersectional alliances by providing spaces for exchange and solidarity building to realign feminist demands with feminist principles and strategies.