Since the mid 1990s, the right of Muslim women to wear headscarves at work has been a source of constant debate among politicians, the public and in the media. To begin with, the debate primarily concerned the extent to which checkout assistants and others in the retail sector should be able to wear headscarves when at work.
“Fifteen years ago, you had to be a journalist, writer or member of some organisation before you could make your voice heard. Today, you can get your message out there through your blog,” tells American Jessica Valenti, founder of the site feministing.com.
Find links to training material and download tips and tools.
Find information on training courses in working with gender in MENA.
Gender and Women’s Rights – Dialogue and Cooperation
This programme aims to strengthen the cooperation between civil society in Denmark and the Arab region, as well as to improve women’s rights and strengthen women’s active participation in society. The aim is also to encourage debate on gender issues – both in the Arab region and between Arab and Danish partners.
On this page you can find project groups and read more about the programme.
The regional programme on Gender and Women’s Rights is based on the cooperation between KVINFO and a number of Danish and Arab partners.
The programme was launched in July 2007 and includes activities with participation from most of the Arab region. It supports the development of long-term cooperation and twinning relationships between Danish and Arab organisations and institutions. Partners include women’s and human rights organisations, shelters for women victims of violence, documentation centres on gender issues and educational institutions including gender-study centres.
Working for women’s rights
The overall aim of the programme is to strengthen the cooperation between civil society in Denmark and the Arab region, as well as to improve women’s rights and strengthen women’s active participation in society. The programme also aims at encouraging and strengthening the debate on gender issues – both in the Arab region and between Arab and Danish partners.
Key focus areas
The activities of the regional programme are focusing on the following focal points:
- Legal Change
- Women in the Public Sphere
- Gender-based Violence
- Research, Documentation and Debate on Gender Issues
These key focus areas touch upon the main challenges of women in the Arab region. These are challenges that are often shared by women, both in Denmark and in other parts of the world. The choice of key focus areas was based on recommendations from Arab women activists and on the potential for establishing a fruitful exchange between Danish and Arab activists and professionals.
Exchange of knowledge
The regional programme includes and supports a large number of different activities. KVINFO works with partners in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Palestine setting up national Who is She databases of women experts, The Danish National Observatory of Violence cooperates with several Arab organisations on the development of an Arab regional observatory against violence, Danish and Arab shelters are sharing their experiences and the Fund for Dialogue and Cooperation supports the joint efforts of other Danish and Arab NGOs.
Creating opportunities for debate
A very important aim of the regional programme is to create opportunities for debate – especially between those who do not meet very often. Public meetings, seminars and conferences facilitate face-to-face encounters and debates and the website Womendialogue. org promotes communication on the main themes of this programme.
For more info about this project
Tlf: 50 76 33 63
Mention the name Stephanie AlNaber and most Jordanians will smile with pride. This 22-year-old super talent is now working as a professional footballer in the prestigious Danish women’s club Fortuna Hjørring, though she has been dribbling with a football since taking her first steps as a child in Amman, Jordan.
“My work is dedicated to bringing about political, social and economic change for Arab women”, tells Haifaa Al-Mansour, Saudi Arabia’s first female film director. FORUM met her during the Dox Box 2009 documentary film festival in Damascus, at which her award-winning film Women without Shadows was screened.
In September 2009, 12 women who daily work in shelters across the Middle East were invited to Denmark by KVINFO to participate in a training and education workshop together with Dannerhuset.
Read about projects and activities on gender based violence run by Arab and Danish organisations. Download new reports and studies and feel free to contribute with any relevant information that you wish to share.
Shelters and counselling centres for women victims of violence
Danish and Arab women’s organisations specialising in gender-based violence cooperate on addressing the problem in this project. The common goal is to learn from each others’ experiences and thereby improve the support given to the victims. Activities include workshops for women's shelter workers.
On this page you can find project groups and read more about the project.
Gender-based violence is a problem faced by women in all parts of the world. With the project ‘Shelters and counselling centres for women victims of violence’, Danish and Arab women’s organisations specialising in gender-based violence cooperate on addressing the problem. The common goal is to learn from each others’ experiences and thereby improve the support given to the victims.
Gender-based violence is a problem which has yet to be universally solved. Unfortunately, it is an experience shared by many women from all parts of the world. And as the problem continues, women – and men – struggle to address the issue, endeavour to help the victims and work to attack the root causes of the problem.
The need for shelters
Over the last few years, attitudes towards the establishment of shelters for women victims of violence have been changing and the need for such shelters, for specific cases, is now being recognised in several Arab countries. In Jordan, an official shelter already exists and in Yemen, one is currently being established. In Morocco, women’s NGOs have become more open towards opening private shelters, although there are still many obstacles here, and the momentum is even slower in Tunisia and Saudi Arabia. Despite progress in some countries, practical experience with the running of shelters is still relatively limited across the entire region.
Today, Denmark has 40 shelters spread all over the country. The majority of these were established in the 1970s or early 1980s as a direct result of the new Women’s Movement. The shelters make it possible for victims of domestic violence to take shelter and get help, advice and support from professionals and voluntary staff. Danish shelters have more than 30 years’ experience of working with women and their children and they have amassed extensive knowledge on a professional approach to dealing with women’s problems. Experience gained covers not only the social and psychological aspects, but also the children’s needs for psychological and remedial help.
Partners and activities
The Danish partners are the Danish shelter and counselling centre Dannerhuset, the Danish umbrella organisation of Danish Shelters – LOKK and KVINFO, but other experts will also be included. A large number of Arab organisations and shelters have already participated in workshops in 2008 and 2009. And in 2010-11, workshops will be co-organized with Arab partners and held in different parts of the Arab region. The participants will include shelter workers who are trained in how to work with the problems at a practical level. An important function of these workshops is the sharing of experience and knowledge.
For more info about this project
Tlf: (+ 45) 50 76 33 68