Published for the IEMed Mediterranean Yearbook 2020, this paper offers a bird’s eye view of the context of Covid-19 in the MENA region with emphasis on the ways in which this global event, or rather calamity, has accentuated and amplified existing gender and other inequalities, whilst at the same time opening spaces for innovative and significant feminist actions and engagement.
The information used for the analysis presented in this paper reposes on the author’s feminist work in Lebanon and the region at the level of activism, research and collective engagement. The author also draws extensively on her feminist networks within and beyond the MENA region in an attempt to visibilize feminist action in a time of crisis.
The paper argues that looking at Covid-19 through a gender lens can only be possible if we are cognizant of the situation of gender equality, or rather inequality, in the region and the activism around it before the pandemic. The paper also maintains that, as with all major crises and calamities, while amplifying inequalities and various forms of injustice, Covid-19 has also created a window of opportunity for change.
The paper suggests that, whilst this window of opportunity may be short-lived, it nevertheless carries immense opportunities for transformation in the lives of all women and girls in the region.
This platform is part of the Axis 1 "Strengthening the capacities of equality actors" of the Priority Solidarity Fund "Women for the future in the Mediterranean" funded by the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs and led by the European Institute of the Mediterranean, in the framework of the project “Developing Women's Empowerment” labelled by the Union for the Mediterranean.