GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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“Product of Paradox: Youth Perspectives on the Future of Women’s Rights in the Arab Gulf and Latin America”
Paper Proposal Text :
What important roles are youth playing in the middle of extreme social change and political upheaval in the traditional and religious societies of the Arab Gulf? In what ways does youth involvement in Gulf politics compare with activism of youth in the traditional and religious societies of Latin America? Through academic scholarship and original fieldwork, the author discusses a number of common points of interest between youth perspectives on women’s rights in the Arab Gulf and Latin America:

• How youth activists set goals and approach the issue of women’s rights differently by country in the Gulf;
• How relevant the term “feminism” is to an indigenous women’s rights movement in the Gulf as compared to a Latin American experience;
• Lessons that youth have learned from Islamic feminist movements about the principles for women’s empowerment from within traditional Muslim societies and cultures that compare with lessons from the Latin American experience;
• Practical points of cooperation and exchange between politically-active youth in Latin America and the Gulf (including cultural, educational, and business partnerships);
• Assessing the influence of local governments, international agencies, and NGOs on youth participation in traditional and religious societies;
• Addressing the role that young men play in facilitating women’s rights both in Latin America and the Arab Gulf.

This paper highlights findings from a study of original interviews of men and women in Kuwait and Qatar, as well as data from a pilot survey of Kuwaiti youth attitudes on the future of women’s political activism, and the relationship religious and political affiliation have in creating a balance for women’s progressive rights within traditional and religious cultures. In addition, the paper highlights the differences and commonalities of youth participation in Latin America, and emphasizes the importance of continued comparisons between Latin America and the Arab Gulf to encounter alternative negotiation strategies for the empowerment of women and other traditionally marginalized populations.