“Women Make the News” UNESCO and Al Jazeera International Women’s Day Event in Doha

By on Mar 8, 2017 in Gender in the Media, Women in the Middle East | 0 comments

Happy International Women’s Day! Today, I spoke at a special UNESCO and Al Jazeera Media Network event on Arab women’s representation in media. My speech and presentation discussed how women are portrayed generally in fiction and news media globally, and also delved into the cultural taboo that prevents many Qatari women from appearing in published visual media here (a topic I wrote about for Chime for Change in 2013). I had the pleasure of speaking alongside Dima Khatib (managing director of AJ+), Reem Al Harmi (a Qatari columnist), Sarah Al Derham (artist and teaching assistant at the Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University; also, one of my former students!), Latifa Al Darwish (cartoonist, filmmaker, and also one of my former students!), Asma Al Hamadi (Al Jazeera presenter) and Hanan Al Yafi (Monitoring and Advocacy Manager at the Doha Centre for Media Freedom). Here are...

Al Jazeera English: My commentary on Michelle Obama’s speech and gender issues in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election

By on Oct 14, 2016 in Femellaneous | 0 comments

Friday, Oct. 14, 2016 I appeared on Al Jazeera English during its 4pm news cast today to discuss Michelle Obama’s speech, gender issues, and buyer’s remorse in the presidential election. Watch my commentary here:

Who You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters!

By on Jun 1, 2016 in Gender in the Media | 1 comment

Check out my remarks on the new all-women Ghostbusters remake that comes out next month. Published in Al Arabiya English: “I absolutely applaud Hollywood’s recent efforts to remake classic action movies starring female leads instead. And I hope the producers of the James Bond franchise will consider re-vamping the series to include a woman Bond – it doesn’t hurt to try it, at least,” Christina Paschyn, lecturer of journalism in residence at Northwestern University in Qatar, who frequently writes about gender issues and media, told Al Arabiya. “As a young girl I loved action films, and still do, but as I grew older I became increasingly disillusioned with them. Not because of their violence, unbelievable stunts or even the predominantly vapid dialogue, but because the female characters were consistently relegated and devalued as inconsequential love interests, sex objects, victims or as...

Hey, Hollywood: Pay Attention to Female War Heroes

By on Apr 3, 2014 in Gender in the Media | 1 comment

This post was also published on Feministing.com on April 5, 2015. It also was highlighted on Bitch Flicks’ Weekly Picks. Cara Hoffman has a wonderful op-ed in the New York Times this week about America’s female soldiers titled,

Getting Girls Excited About Science

By on Mar 23, 2014 in Femellaneous | 0 comments

When I was in elementary and middle school, I loved science. I thought for sure I would grow up to be some sort of a scientist, like a genetic engineer. Well, as luck would have it, I chose to follow my passion for writing instead. But, of course, I don’t regret any of my scientific forays at that young age. I loved participating (and excelling) in science fairs, readings books about outer space and daydreaming about becoming an astronaut. Who knows, it may come true yet. Despite my career choice, I plan to encourage my future daughters to pursue careers in STEM fields. And one way I plan on doing that is sending them to science camps. One of my fondest and most exciting memories from childhood is participating in the B-WISER Science Camp at the College of Wooster in Ohio. My sister and I were invited to attend the camp after our projects won big at a local science fair. We loved...

Support the Women’s eNews Arabic Site

By on Mar 17, 2014 in Gender in the Media | 0 comments

I’m sure many of you are familiar with Women’s eNews. It’s a fabulous news organization that focuses on issues of “particular importance to women.” The site is a much needed alternative to the slew of media that far too often ignores, marginalizes and discounts stories about our gender. What’s particularly great about Women’s eNews is that is also has an Arabic site. The Arabic version doesn’t just rehash English articles but offers unique content as well. In January, Rita Henley Jensen, the founder and editor-in-chief of Women’s eNews, visited me in Doha, Qatar. She was touring the Middle East to brainstorm ways to raise funds and expand the Arabic site. Unfortunately, I recently received an email from Rita explaining that the Arabic site is going on hiatus because she wasn’t able to raise enough money yet to support it. I...

Hey, NY Times: Ukrainian Women are Heroes Too!

By on Mar 11, 2014 in Femellaneous, Gender in the Media | 0 comments

About two weeks ago, the New York Times published an article about Ukrainians’ thoughts on the newly installed revolutionary government. It was an interesting read, but there was one sentence that angered me for its sexist implications. I wrote a letter to the editor about it. Alas, it wasn’t published. But you can read what I wrote below. Do you agree or disagree with me? In Andrew Higgins’ article, Fears of a New Order Filled with Old Faces, published on Feb. 25 in the International New York Times, he writes: “The revered heroes of Ukraine’s revolution are squads of helmeted young men with clubs who risked their lives to hold back government forces as they tried early last week to seize Independence Square, known as Maidan.” Are young men the only heroes of this revolution? Has Higgins already forgotten about the many young Ukrainian women who risked...

CEDAW Review: Qatari Women Demand Their Rights

By on Mar 5, 2014 in Women in the Middle East | 0 comments

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) reviewed Qatar on its progress advancing women’s rights in the country at the organization’s 57th session on Feb. 13, 2014. Qatar ratified the CEDAW agreement in 2009, but as the discussions at the latest session showed, the country continues to fall short in a number of spheres. Qatari pundit Nofe Al Suwaidi wrote a great summary of the CEDAW session and its findings for Justhere.qa. I encourage you to read it. Some of the areas in which Qatari women continue to suffer discrimination: Qatari woman still cannot automatically pass on citizenship to their children. Qatar still has no law on domestic violence, which is scary considering that some 16% of men and 7% of women in Qatar believe wife-beating is justified in certain cases. And apparently 20% of men 15-24 years old agree. Women continue to get...