Middle East & North Africa: Documenting Her-Stories

Women shooting video footage
Courtesy Women, Media and Development
The lives of Palestinian women in Israel are largely hidden from view. But thanks to Palestinian feminists at the Gender Studies Program at Mada al-Carmel: Arab Center for Applied Social Research in Haifa, Israel, this situation is changing. The research of this Global Fund grantee captures the often-invisible violence that Palestinian women face in Israel, from the daily struggle to access basic public services to the heightened sexual and physical violence during war. Mada trains emerging Palestinian social scientists, and fosters links between academics, NGO activists, and political actors to transform the conditions of Palestinian citizens.

The cornerstone of Global Fund grantmaking in the region has been to support the research, documentation, and recording of women's voices and experiences. This rich history is virtually absent from media and pop culture as well as the publications of government and research institutions.

Another grantee documenting Arab women’s contributions is the Lebanese Association of Women Researchers in Beirut, Lebanon. It organizes conferences on feminism and publishes research in Arabic, French, and English. Such work “builds the backbone of a strong movement,” says Hoda Elsadda, a longtime Egyptian feminist scholar-activist and Global Fund board member.

Documenting her-stories is crucial when so many countries in the region, from Iraq to Palestine, suffer war and occupation. These conflicts fuel political repression and religious extremism against women. Our support of research helps break the historical cycles of violence and oppression by nurturing current and future generations of feminist activists and scholars.

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