Al-Raida first appeared in May 1976, three years after the founding of the Arab Institute for Women (formerly, the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World) at the Lebanese American University. It started off as a thin newsletter of only a dozen stenciled pages, with the modest purpose of reporting on the activities of Institute. With time, however, Al-Raida grew in size and scope, a development reflected in its new appearance: by the mid 1980s, the journal began accepting research-based articles, marking an important step in the journal’s content and mandate. By 1994, Al-Raida reached a new level of maturity with the introduction of a specialized section – or “File” – that focused on cutting edge themes and sometimes controversial issues related to the status of women and gender in the Arab region.
In 2002, the Institute made Al-Raida available online in both Arabic and English, giving readers around the world immediate access. In 2007, Al-Raida’s appearance was updated to the now-current format, and new sections, namely the “young scholars” section and a section for book reviews, were added.
In 2013, more than three decades after its first issue, Al-Raida became a bi-annual, interdisciplinary journal, publishing both academic and non-academic materials. As such, Al-Raida continued to expand its readership, and attracted rich and varied submissions that contributed to larger debates on issues of gender and women in the Arab region.
In 2017, the Institute completed its work to digitize the entire archive of Al-Raida, making more than 40 years’ worth of invaluable research available online for free. Searchable by article, author, theme, issue, country focus, and key word, the digitization of Al-Raida brought the entire archive back to life. Today, Al-Raida continues to invite submissions from across disciplines, both academic and non-academic with the aim to contribute to local, regional, and international discussions by, and for women in the Arab region.