Farah Olfat Kobaissy is a socialist and feminist activist, member of the Socialist Forum in Lebanon and the feminist group “Nasawiya”. She’s mainly interested in gender and labour issues. And recently finished her Master thesis which is a gendered analysis of the labour movement in Egypt entitled “The Rise Of The Contemporary Worker’s Movement in Egypt And The Transformation In The Concept Of “Gender” from University Saint-Joseph in Beirut. She currently works as at the Lebanese Labour Watch.
Popular uprisings in the Middle East have swept from center of gravity toppling regimes that seemed for long unbreakable. as the uprisings are still on, an insight on women activism in the region becomes very important, especially because the uprisings placed women’s issues under the microscope and took them out of the traditional elite forums to present them to society as part of its issues and concerns. And this is due to the fact that women’s large participation in all areas and on all fronts became noticeable, for they had to face their own share of oppression and persecution, such as what was known as « virginity tests » and other violations and attempts to tarnish female strikers’ moral reputation. The emergence of women as major participants in the revolution and as real strugglers led to challenging the mainstream approach of some Arab and Western media and academic studies here and there, which tends to deal with them based on an inflexible gender concept (essentialist concept) implying some sort of « specific » discrimination against women who are living under « Islamic law. » That approach also focuses on « typical » forms of gender discrimination depicted as the specialty of Arabs and Muslims such as the veil, honor crimes and circumcision. It also presents women as victims first, making their suffering the center of their history and fixing them in a passive role as if it were inevitable, regardless of whether they resisted or conformed to stereotypes..
Therefore, my talk will shed light on the vital role of women in the mids of the revolution and their active contribution in the past few years that led to the emergence of women leaders who played a prominent role in strikes and protests in a number of factories and assembly lines.
Vendredi 26 octobre
14h15 – 16h
Amphipôle, salle 315.1
Panel – Combats actuels pour l’émancipation: Luttes et révolutions dans la région arabe (I)