The Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation and the European Institute of the Mediterranean thank all those who participated in the campaign “Let’s Name March 8”. This initiative was conceived to highlight the work of women and girls leading transformative projects and actions in the Euro-Mediterranean space that contribute to more equal societies.
This campaign was launched on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8. Below there is a list of women whose work is inscribed in 8 different fields of action; they all epitomise the collective imprint of such an important date. These women have inspired you and nourished your vision on what it means to be a Euro-Mediterranean woman striving for gender equality in our current times.
We hope that this campaign, which has connected us to several spaces and disciplines, will help us reflect about gender equality as a cross-sectional aim, and to keep in mind that the fight to achieve gender equality continues every day.
Souad El Hajjaji is a professor at the Department of Chemistry of the Mohammed V University of Rabat, one of the founding members of the Moroccan branch of Soroptimism (an international human rights organization focused on female empowerment) and a member of the network “Femmes solidaires pour l’égalité” (which fosters the labour rights of women in trade unions throughout Morocco). El Hajjaji has used her background and professional position to found a research centre with researchers working on environmental issues, always favouring gender equality. She is a member of SWINDON (Sustainable Water Management in Developing Countries), which promotes capacity building and knowledge transfer, and of the Coordination Committee of COALMA, also focused on water management.
Inès Khalifa is a technical manager at the Mediterranean Renewable Energy Centre (MEDRIC), which has been distinguished as a reference project in the Maghreb region in matters concerning renewable energies. Khalifa is also one of the coordinators of the EU-funded Mediterranean Cooperation project (Med-ECoSuRe), which seeks to create a Mediterranean cross-border living lab bringing together relevant actors of the region to develop energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions that ultimately lead to a better world. Khalifa’s contribution considers a gender perspective, as she has built up a solid consortium respecting gender equality, and a 100% female team in charge of the project implementation and coordination.
Ahlem Belhadj is a women’s rights defender, and a psychiatrist. She actively participated in the so-called Tunisian Revolution that started in 2011, focusing on the rights for women and children, and her fight continues in post-revolutionary Tunisia. She has been the president of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, in which she is actively involved, serving as chair in various occasions. Her activism awarded her the Simone de Beauvoir prize in 2012.
Also an active member of Tunisia’s political transformation, lawyer Yosra Frawes is the president of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women. She focuses on heritage rights for women and children, and her legal expertise took her to participate in Tunisia’s democratic transition, within the Higher Authority for Realisation of the Objectives of the Revolution, Political Reform and Democratic Transition. She is also a delegate of the International Federation for Human Rights.
Nuha Muhreiz is the president of the Women Helping Women Network in Jordan. The aim of this association is to raise awareness, build capacity and mobilize support to enhance women’s participation in decision-making. The network targets women entrepreneurs, especially young entrepreneurs, and encourages their participation in public life. By networking with local community organizations they provide support for women. In her role of president, Muhreiz has helped to create projects to raise the participation of Jordanian women in municipalities and elected positions, and has contributed to generate critical material seeking to promote gender equality. Muhreiz works to involve refugee women in the initiatives of the Network.
Ikhlas Ghassa is the chair of the Women and Organizations Office of the Syrian Cultural Institution. She has done extensive work in helping displaced women in Syria to return to their villages and towns. She has created networks of support for those women having lost their loved ones in the context of war, and also for those having to confront gender-based violence. She also promotes initiatives seeking to provide support and socially engage women who have been raped, and their children. Ghassa participated in the Civil Society Support Room in Geneva, which served to facilitate the participation of civil society in the intra-Syrian talks in Geneva tackling the Syrian conflict.
Fatma Oussedik is a lecturer of the Sociology Department at Algiers University. Through her role as lecturer and researcher, she has widened the circulation of the work of female Algerian sociologists and anthropologists. She has also contributed to the setting-up of collective actions in Algeria seeking to generate debate on gender equality. Oussedik is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean University and Scientific Network on Women and Gender (RUSEMEG), the main purpose of which is to increase academic knowledge on gender and women and to create synergies between researchers and academics working on these topics in the region.
Also a member of RUSEMEG, and her former president, Zohra Mezgueldi is a lecturer at the Hassan II University of Casablanca, within the Department of French Language and Literature. She contributed to the creation of postdoctoral formations (both MA and Doctoral programmes) on gender studies in Morocco, now available at several universities.
Soundous Sabri also teaches at the Hassan II University. A sociologue, she uses the academic milieu, as well as the media, to shed light on how to counter the gender inequalities that affect Moroccan women.
Siham Benchekroun is an awarded novelist and poet, and an activist on women’s rights. Her literary works put the emotional and physical experiences of women in the forefront, focusing on their heterogeneity. She is also interested in orature and her works have been translated into several languages.
Ibtissam al-Hamri is a poet who fights for the rights of people with functional and cognitive diversity, as well as for women’s rights. She uses poetry and literature to shed light on the challenges faced by women and people with disabilities, giving strong impetus to Moroccan society toward a more egalitarian approach in this respect.
Malika Talib is also a poet. She has published two books, in Arabic. Her tenacity lead her to graduate after her retirement, which has inspired many women in Morocco to pursue their goals.
Fairouz Habache is the president of Women in Business of Algeria (WIBA). Her work in the field of women’s entrepreneurship has earned her international recognition. In 2016, together with other Algerian women, she created the WIBA Community, a network of businesswomen, craftswomen, female entrepreneurs, and executives seeking to foster female entrepreneurship. Her work focuses on valuing women’s participation in the development of their societies and the economy of their communities.
Naela Gabr is the chairperson and the Head of the Technical Secretariat of the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons. CCPIMTIP. The role of Gabr within the Committee has been oriented towards protecting the rights of Egyptian women and girls. As an ambassador, gender equality has always framed her action against violence and crimes targeting the most vulnerable groups in her country.
Aïcha Chenna is the founder of the Association Solidarité Féminine, which provides training in various domains for single mothers since 1985 and helps victims of abuse. A social worker and a nurse, Chenna has been part of Morocco’s Ministry of Health and has done research on various illnesses. Her work has been distinguished with several humanitarian awards, including the Opus Prize, which was awarded to her in 2009.
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.