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My name is Lauren. I am researching the Middle East in my Social Studies class, and I'm focusing right now on women. I was wondering if you could give me any information on the treatment of women in the Middle East. Also, could you please put me in contact with anyone who's interested in talking to me and my classmates or is directly connected to the situation. Thank you! Sincerely, Lauren

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM and for taking the time to educate your classmates on the treatment of women in Middle East. Because this Middle East is quite a big area and includes many different countries/cultures, etc... it's hard to make a blanket statement. For instance, there is Israel, where the situation for women is pretty good comparatively and there are many great and active Israel women's groups who can give you more information. Many people also assume that Afghanistan is a part of the Middle East. If you consider this, you have to consider the Taliban, which is the fundamentalist faction which is currently controllng Afghanistan and prevents women and girls from going to school, the doctor, riding the bus, etc... (For more information on this, contact the Feminist Majority Foundation.)

The Middle East mostly gets categorized as being Muslim territority, which it is mostly is. But it's important - especially when considering the treatment of women - that one consider not only the interpretation of the Koran, but what is actually says. There is often a difference in interpretation and the burden shouldn't fall on the Koran itself, but on the people who wrongly interpret it. For more information on the Middle East, you might want to look at Robin Morgan's anthology--Sisterhood Is Global which includes write-ups on each country and there treatment of women. There is also a foundation of this same name based in Washington, DC (www.sigi.org), which can give you more information.

I hope that helps -- also the organizations listed above might be able to suggest possible people to come speak to your class. Where are you located? That would help to make suggestions, too.


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