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Sisters doing it in the Middle East

11 June 2005

This week I've happened on a few articles about women in the Middle East that are worth sharing. I wish more of it were good news. But I definitely get the feeling things are getting shook up a little. Call me an optimist. There is still a long way to go.

First, the news of Iranian women busting into a stadium in Tehran for a pre-qualification game for the World Cup in spite of a stupid ban on women attending sporting events in Iran. Keep an eye on Iran Scan 1384 for more about the role of women in their upcoming election.

Second, a brave Saudi legislator, Mohamed al-Zolfa put forward a proposal on lifting the driving ban for women in Saudi Arabia. If you can't chain women's legs, at least you can chain their wheels. The proposal has not been welcomed by the men in power.

Then there was this article from Egypt about several hundreds of men and women coming together to protest a sexual assault that happened on a small group of women in plain, daylight view of the police. "Overnight we have become national symbols," said one of the women, a lawyer, who was "groped" in the attack.

Finally, depressing news about the dangers women still face in Afghanistan. A female television host of a popular music programme was shot in her own home after receiving numerous death threats. And this woman's "shelter" in Kabul reportedly beats women if they try to escape. Check out Amnesty International's new report on the systemic failure to protect women in Afghanistan.

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