International Feminism

Here we discuss how feminism in each of the respective countries connects with Western and Arab American feminism. As you will read Arab American feminism is highly influenced by women's issues in the Arab countries. Also, the assumed universality of Western feminist thought is brought in to show how feminisms really differ across the globe.

In all countries, the feminist anti-war movement is a burgeoning and this is what it looks like.

Iraq: Due to the current war in Iraq and the concern that global citizens feel regarding the well being and safety of people living in Iraq, feminist interest has sparked in this area, and there have been many efforts on the global level to protest the war and assists its victims and potential victims.

Palestine and Israel
The relationship of feminism in Palestine and Israel to that of Arab American feminism is that just like Arab American feminism, their struggles as women are vastly different from women in traditional Western feminism. As with several other Arab countries, Israeli and Palestinian women face colonialization and are subject to the influences of Western feminisms. Their actions and needs in the conflict are being overshadowed by Western observers who often speak for the "silent" women. Arab American women also face this same problem in their struggle to create their own feminist agenda and address their own issues. Western feminism has been universalized to the point that it is difficult for women in other areas of the world to become part of a global feminism. Palestinian and Israeli feminist also have separate issues that do not relate to the occupation of the region. Israeli women have been filling traditional roles after serving in the military (which western feminist perceive as liberating to serve) and typically focus on child rearing after their service.


In the US, the largest population of Arab-Americans are from Lebanon and because of this there are a number of organizations based in the US which address not only issues in Arab feminism but also within American feminism and make efforts to bridge the gap between the two. As with many other feminist groups, the focus is not solely on feminism but on political and social issues that effect society as a whole. It is important to understand not only the network of organizations, but also the network of issues. Events and issues in Lebanon can effect the lives of people in the US or Europe and the opposite holds true as well. All issues are inter-connected in some way, and in a way, that means all people are as well.


Syria has aligned itself with many international feminist movements and global feminism as a whole. Syrian women have taken place in the women's world conference held in 1995 and 2005 to come up with a compounding list of issues that affect women in Arab countries. "The General Women's Union of Syria (GWU), a prominent Syrian feminist organization, put together the National Syrian Women's Strategy, whose guidelines are based on the platform of the 1995 Beijing Conference for Women. The program is a plan of action, dealing with the implementation of various proposals from 1995 to 2005 from international conference." (

Source: General Women's Union of Syria from

Saudi Arabia


Issues that Moroccan feminist have struggled with, specifically the harem, have played an influential role in how Arab-American feminists have to deal with orientalism and feminism. For more information, check out the section on Morocco under Colonization.