In May 2015 award-winning journalist Mona Eltahawy came to Free Word Centre to talk about her ground-breaking book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, in an event co-presented by Free Word and TLC. The event was chaired by award-winning writer, activist and global affairs commentator Elif Shafak. We were delighted to be involved in this illuminating event, with eloquent discussions followed by a lively Q&A session from a sold-out audience.
In November 2011, Mona Eltahawy came to worldwide attention when she was assaulted by police during the Egyptian Revolution. She responded by writing a ground-breaking piece in Foreign Policy entitled ‘Why Do They Hate Us?’; ‘They’ being Muslim men, ‘Us’ being women. Mona draws on her years as a campaigner and commentator on women’s issues in the Middle East to explain that since the Arab Spring began, women in the Arab world have had two revolutions to undertake: one fought with men against oppressive regimes, and another fought against an entire political and economic system that treats women as second-class citizens in countries from Yemen and Saudi Arabia to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
Mona joined Turkey’s leading female writer, Elif Shafak, to discuss the role of women in the Arab world. Elif has won international acclaim for her lyrical blend of Eastern and Western storytelling styles. Her latest novel Honour explores the controversial issue of honour killings as it tragically plays out in one family’s life.
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