We seek to respond to the feminist movement's needs as articulated by the activists on the ground and we strive to support feminist groups at various levels to make autonomous decisions that benefit their communities.
For our first round of grantmaking, we are accepting applications from groups focused on Women & LGBTQ+ Groups, and working on 4 interconnected issues:
In a tumultuous region ravaged by militarization, authoritarianism and religious conservatism like MENA, the human rights of women are constantly under threat and undercut by state and non-state actors. Young girls are often the first to be pulled out of school and forced into early marriage to support their family's needs which deprives them of their inalienable right to education. Women are often regarded as lacking the skills necessary for decent employment and leadership positions, or worse yet, many believe that women belong only in the home not the workplace, which deprives them of opportunities for upward mobility in the workplace and for economic independence.
Women in the MENA region also do not have access to proper sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as their bodies are often treated as battlefields for various patriarchal forces to assert their power. Moreover, in many countries in the region, women are not treated as full citizens in the eyes of the law and they suffer due to patriarchal legislation and the lack of a gender-sensitive approach to drafting and implementing laws.
Armed conflict has also become a reality that hundreds of thousands of women and LGBTQ+ groups in the region are forced to live with in countries like Yemen, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Palestine.
In addition to lacking access to basic health needs like water, food and sanitation, women living under conflict are subject to gender-based violence and they bear the double-burden of family/child-care and income generation. They also suffer from immense traumas as a result of the conflict and of rape being used as an instruments of war and genocide.
In the absence of decent work opportunities and pay and the active cancellation of any feminist campaigns or convenings, women are also further entrenched into a reality where they lack the means to organize or break cycles of oppression.
Despite being imprisoned for political reasons, WHRDs were often unrightfully charged with moral crimes to portray them as morally-delinquent women to the public and to detract from the public's support for them as well as that of their families. Despite women's movements and demands being sidelined in times of conflict, women are still emerging as leaders for peace and are part of the negotiations for conflict resolution taking place right now in countries ravaged by conflict, whether in the diaspora or inside their countries. Women also lead grassroots efforts in camps for refugees and internally-displaced people to advocate for the daily needs of women in these spaces as they often have the most knowledge and access to women living under armed conflict.
Despite their important work in peacebuilding processes, funding for women living under conflict is negatively impacted by counter-terrorism legislation around the world which imposes stricter banking procedures and donor policies. As such, women are ‘squeezed’ between terrorism and international counter-terrorist responses. Stemming from our awareness of these issues, it is a priority for Doria that women who engage in peacebuilding and advocacy need to be meaningfully included and supported at all levels of decision-making to improve the livelihoods of women living under armed conflict.
Violence against women and LGBTQ+ groups in the MENA region occurs at different levels, whether they be institutional, domestic, political, legal or social; it permeates different areas of their lives and acts as a significant hurdle against their safety, security and wellbeing.
Issues like female genital mutilation, forced marriage, sexual violence and discrimination in the law are realities for too many women in the region. In addition, women's human rights defenders are subject to various forms of violence by state and non-state actors. They are often the target of smear campaigns, domestic violence, travel bans, unlawful arrests and torture in prison due to their outspoken work.
It is a priority for us to ensure that WHRDs in the MENA region have the space and resources to safely and effectively advocate for the rights of different vulnerable groups and to spread a culture of respect for human rights.
Because of legal constraints, violence in both the public and private spheres, poor employment generation policies, deficient economies as well as the burden of care and social reproduction, women in the MENA region face difficulties in being economically autonomous. This increases their dependence and subordination as well as their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.
We seek to support feminist initiatives that seek to challenge and disrupt the main causes which undermine women’s economic empowerment and contribute to their disenfranchisement.