January 2021 Updates
A new year, new beginnings, new ways to achieve gender equality!
Our challenges of 2020 are far from over, but in this new month we renew our commitment to this cause – we’re in it for the long haul!
We kicked off the month with a new grant to upgrade our signature Gender in Development and Humanitarian Assistance (GDHA) courses, digitize them, and translate them into Arabic. Since its inception in 2017, this has been our most popular program, bringing together policymakers and practitioners, academics and activists, and aspiring aid workers to learn how to center gender issues in development and humanitarian work.
This new grant, from UN Women and WHO, brings us into closer collaboration with our “big sister”, the Global Women’s Institute at George Washington University. This project is a huge milestone for the GDHA program, allowing it to expand to all Arab countries and reach a wider audience, enabling us to build a greater army to address gender inequalities in the Arab region!
When it comes to gender issues in the region, there is a lot of conversation about the role of religion, and how that might be used as a force for change. We shared our views at a symposium on the issue, examining how we might more closely engage with religious institutions in our quest for justice. The Institute has a rich body of critical reflection on the link between gender and religion, for instance examining women in Islam, Arab Family Laws, and our recent issue of Al-Raida on Islamic Feminism.
Did you know that the Arab region ranks among the lowest in the world on the Women, Peace, and Security Index? The Index measures women’s inclusion, access to justice, and security around the world, helping us to better understand where the challenges are – and how we might address them.
The Institute maintains a strong commitment to women, peace, and security (WPS) in the region. We’ve done years of advocacy to ensure that there is no P and no S without the W! This month, we continued our collaboration with UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Georgetown Institute for Women Peace and Security (GIWPS), and the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO), for a Regional Capacity Development Workshop on the Women, Peace, and Security Index. This workshop advances the agenda in the region and helps us better understand that there is no peace, prosperity, or progress anywhere without the full inclusion of women.
This month, the world continued to feel unstable. In the US, an attack on the Capitol building and a change of leadership led us to ask if America is in fact a “fragile state”, meaning that the US, like every country around the world, is just as susceptible to violence. And, this violence cannot be separated from a culture of toxic masculinity, linking violence on the streets to violence in the home. In short, there’s work to do everywhere. Together with our sister movement, SheDecides, we advocated for women’s rights to their own bodies and lives, hopeful that the Biden-Harris Administration will give us the leadership we need for change!
Watch this space for more – and join us in this fight!
Let’s make 2021 a year of great gains for equality!
The AiW Team