“Women Rising: In and Beyond the Arab Spring” edited by Rita Stephan and Mounira M. Charrad— Before and After the Arab Spring

Stephan, Rita and Mounira M. Charrad, editors. “Women Rising: In and Beyond the Arab Spring”, NYU Press, 2020.

Before and After the Arab Spring

Amos Lassen

“Women Rising: In and Beyond the Arab Spring”is a collection of essays by female activists and scholars that document women’s resistance before, during, and after the Arab Spring. Rita Stephan and Mounira M. Charrad bring together a group of scholars, activists, artists, and more, to show the first-hand experiences of women at that time. 

In this relevant and timely volume, Stephan and Charrad paint a picture of women’s political resistance in sixteen countries before, during, and since the Arab Spring protests first began in 2011. Contributors provide insight into a diverse range of perspectives across the entire movement, focusing on often-marginalized voices, including rural women, housewives, students, and artists. By reading these essays, we come to understand
an important twenty-first century movement that is the story of Arab women’s activism.

Here are Arab women’s voices and the forms of activism before, during and after the Arab uprisings. The editors use a variety of forms of expression ad include art and literary production in political commentary. The present a challenge to misrepresentations of Arab women’s agency and their ongoing roles in the struggle for democracy.

The essays cover a wide range of Arab countries and contexts as they explore the activism of women before, during and after the Arab Spring uprisings. Here are distinctive features of Arab women’s struggles and the national and local origins of their protests. Women, through their very presence in protests, transformed the relationship of women to public space. They become bold  through their organizations and increased political representation and they have brought about legislative changes as well as claiming their creative agency “through literature, film, street art, the photographic lens, and many other forms of expression.”  

What we really see is that the Arab Springs is hardly over and the efforts of women will continue to he heard in calls for reform, revolution and resistance. The Arab Spring is a critical point of history for Arab women as they face tremendous odds. The collection extends the boundaries of the study of feminist resistance. Theoretical debates, empirical nuances are seen through a sophisticated lens that captures the experiences of Arab women.

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