In the Grey Zone: The Invisible Conflict of a Gendered Colonized Mind
By: Mariam Rabah (Cohort 2), 2023
After my relatively short journey studying gender, cultures, and power dynamics, I am writing this paper to encapsulate my internal conflict to identify myself. I am a young Egyptian Muslim woman studying at The American University in Cairo. I am in constant confrontation with my beliefs, values, feelings, and thoughts. Gender, for me, was at first merely how society defined our roles based on biological sex at birth. Now, it has become how the world is structured. Everything is gendered, categorized, and boxed in binary categories. That realization has increased the level of tension I face in defining myself. Religion and traditions also play a role in this tension. I have come to question and critique my beliefs, leaving me in a battle between my mind (knowledge) and soul (belief). Am I conservative or liberal? Modern or traditional? Am I living up to the expectations of society (my privileged society)? All of these are questions I raise without having a clear answer. Moreover, I am directly confessing that I am colonized. Not only do I (among others) validate my existence through Western values, trends, practices, and lifestyle, but I am also colonized by the national state regulating my body and structuring the boxes we should all conform to or be punished. Hence, in an attempt to deconstruct the factors behind the tensions I face as a woman, I am writing this essay to describe how, in a black-and-white world, I am willingly choosing to be in the grey area or, in other words, stand neutral without subscribing to any extremes.
Ownership of History in the Cleopatra Blackness Debate: Whose feminist icon?
By: Peter Maher Selib (Cohort 2) Year 2023
The role of gender in shaping family communication patterns and conflict resolution.The recent uproar over Netflix’s production of a docuseries about Cleopatra has raised a debate about race, gender, and the writing of history. Among conflicting charges of “Blackwashing” and “racism”, fundamental questions are being passed over about whose history is being written, to whom does Cleopatra “belong,” and relatedly, for whom is she a feminist icon? This essay will discuss this recent controversy with a particular focus on the representation of history and its audience, especially regarding Afrocentrism as a movement. At the center of this essay is not the truthfulness of the history writing about Cleopatra’s race, but rather the intention of how that narrative is presented. This is especially important as it makes claims to a major source of Egyptian identity and of a historical figure whose biography is important to Egypt’s history and society.
Climate Change and Gender Inequality
By: Omar Basyouny (Cohort 2), 2022
In an effort to help address one of the major issues the world is facing today, this paper attempts to find climate change mitigation strategies which we can develop to limit climate change and reduce our carbon footprint, through addressing gender inequality, another prominent global issue. Factors such as excessive carbon emission, inadequate management of natural resources, and limited utilization of renewable energy significantly contribute to the exacerbation of climate change, which can lead to multiple impacts including but not limited to droughts, floods, and deforestation. These repercussions not only extend to the economic sphere leading to job losses, reduced income, and scarcity of natural resources but has huge hidden effects on our society in multiple ways, such as sexual violence, human trafficking, child marriage, and most importantly gender inequality. Accordingly, addressing gender inequality can have the potential of benefiting the society as a whole by, for example, improving women’s education, economically empowering them while increasing their decision making sphere, and allowing for greater policy influence. This in turn can lead to significant reduction in climate change through enabling educated women to gain increased awareness of the importance of addressing the climate catastrophe, become more attuned to the importance of protecting natural resources, and utilize influential roles that can shape strategies for combating climate change. In essence, findings prove that by comprehending the consequences of climate change on gender disparities and recognizing the potential of reducing gender inequality to combat climate change, we can be able to gain insights into effective strategies for addressing these intertwined challenges as each of these significant global issues becomes vital in helping us effectively address the other.