Employment / Position - - MENA region

Consultant on contestations and backlashes to gender equality in the MENA

15.09.2021 / Created by (EMWF)

EuroMed Rights is looking for an external consultant to document attempted and successful forms of contestations/‘backlashes’ to gender equality in the Middle East and North Africa from the beginning of 2021 and until now. The information will constitute the framework and foundation for an upcoming EuroMed Rights’ mapping project. 

 I- Background  

In the last years, contestations of gender equality have risen exponentially and from a multitude of actors on both shores of the Mediterranean. The COVID-19 pandemic and the varied governmental measures enacted in response to it have in certain countries perhaps represented the worse pushback of all. In addition, illiberal and autocratic governments have deliberately seized the occasion of the COVID-19 pandemic to pursue their attacks against women’s and LGBTIQ+ rights. In Turkey, President Erdogan recently announced the country’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. In Egypt, a draft of the personal status law would deprive women of their legal status to conclude a marriage contract or claim guardianship of their children. In other parts of the MENA Region, conservatism is growing. For instance, in Tunisia, president Kais Saied has repeatedly expressed his opposition to equality in inheritance, crushing hopes forged since the presentation in Parliament of a draft law on equality in inheritance in 2018. While socio-political instabilities continue to lead to a reassertion of traditional gender roles, in other parts of the Region, women’s rights are increasingly being used to further advance and justify xenophobic and racist policies, or to present a ‘modern’ facade, hiding away major human rights violations. 

II- The Map 

EuroMed Rights will develop an interactive, clickable map centred on the Euro-Mediterranean region (= EU + North Africa and Levant countries). By clicking on each country, a pop-up window will appear with a short summary of the most recent backlashes and actionable links (petitions, work done by EuroMed Rights’ members or other NGOs etc.). Readers will be able to quickly search through the map using a system of keywords.  

The type of backlashes that the project will monitor are specifically legislative and political gender-based contestations of rights (we define backlash as legislative and/or political initiatives consequently/aimed at further diluting women’s and LGBTIQ+ people’s human rights). The most clear and obvious example of one such ‘backlash’ would be Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention. This national level decision will have concrete and far-reaching consequences for women and LGBTIQ+ people in Turkey. 

Because the mapping project will cover multiple countries and aims to be a tool which monitors trends in backlashes, most forms of backlashes included on the map will be large-scale political events occurring at international, national, regional levels, both offline and online. Forms of discriminations or inter-personal enactment of violence, though reflecting structurally rooted inequalities, will not be accounted for.  

The map will be hosted on a dedicated webpage to which the consultant will be given a comprehensive introduction as well as executive access for the month-long employment period in order for them to be able to input the compiled information into posts on the page. 

The Map will aim at: 

  • Providing journalists with trustworthy, regularly updated information on ongoing backlashes and developments in the region,  
  • Providing decision-makers with an overall view of the developments in the region, including the scale of the phenomenon, with easily accessible data to be used in reports and various documentation, 
  • Providing citizens with information on the phenomenon of backlashes, and possibility to “counteract” these via links to petitions and sharing options on social media. 
  • Providing civil society organisations with an overall view of developments in the region, possible actions to take?  
  • Connecting civil society initiatives at country and regional level, 
  • Providing centralised information to be used by civil society organisations in their advocacy and communication efforts towards officials (EU, national) and media.

III- Methodology and content of the analysis. 

The mapping project will first focus on countries covered by EuroMed Rights’ membership in the MENA Region, namely: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey. The second phase of webpage development will cover European countries. This consultancy only concerns the first phase. 

For each country of the MENA Region (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey), the consultant will be tasked to compile the list of relevant backlashes which have occurred, from the beginning of 2021 onwards. Information can come from any verifiable source – including media reports, government statements, draft laws, declarations, statements from observing bodies such as the UN, activist testimonies, social media posts etc.  

Occurrences of contestations/backlashes to gender equality will be categorised (the following categories might be further refined) in the following manner: 

  • The actor initiating the backlash: heads of state, ministers, members of Parliament, political party, GONGOs, religious leaders and/or institutions, civil society organisations, citizen’s initiatives, state institutions/bodies.      
  • The form of backlash: international/bilateral agreement, draft law/reform, protest, financial decision, court’s ruling, statement, hate speech, enactment of violence, war crimes. 
  • The socio-political trend behind the backlash: authoritarian feminism, illiberalism, femonationalism, homonationalism, anti-feminism, anti-genderism, neoliberal feminism, religious extremism, conservatism, militarism. 

The backlashes can then be written up concisely as one of the afore-mentioned ‘pop-up windows’ on the map.  Additionally, the consultant will be tasked to compile contextual information on the status of gender equality before the law in each of the countries mentioned above. All posts will initially be written in English. 

IV- Timeline 

  • 23 September: Deadline for applications.  
  • 24 September: Interviews. 
  • 28 September: Contract signed. 
  • 1 October: Introduction and induction. 
  • 2-8 October: First research week, aiming to compile full backlash map and background information for 2 countries. 
  • 8 October: Check in with the Women’s Rights and Gender Justice Programme Officer. 
  • 9-19 October: Second independent research phase. 
  • 19 October: Check in with the Women’s Rights and Gender Justice Programme Officer. 
  • 20-30 October: Final research. 
  • 1 November: Sign off and debrief. 

V- Practical information

The consultant is expected to work independently and in close coordination with EuroMed Rights’ Programme Officer on Women’s Rights and Gender Justice. EuroMed Rights endorses and encourages remote working, so applicants are welcome to apply for this position from their base anywhere in the world. 

Please submit your application, including your CV and a motivation letter, to lugr@euromedrights.net by 23 September 2021

Applications will be scored according to proven expertise/academic background in gender studies and/or social sciences as well as strong research skills. Although the work itself will be undertaken in English, a level of fluency in French and/or Arabic would be seen as an asset. 

The researcher will receive a remuneration of EUR 3000 (incl. VAT).  


  • Type : Employment / Position
  • Deadline : 23/09/2021
  • Promoter : Euromed Rights


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