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The fight for women's rights in the Middle East

Saudi artist Majed al-Esa has been challenging stereotypes around Middle Eastern women [Twitter/@Majedalesa]

Date of publication: 22 February, 2017

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Special coverage: More than 150 features, blogs, opinion articles and news stories from rage to resistance, inside the real fight for women's rights in the Middle East.

The Middle East doesn't exactly have a stellar reputation for women's rights. Women here are often subjected to dehumanising treatment - sometimes banned from travelling, or prevented from attending sports events (let alone taking part). Sometimes women are even airbrushed out of existence. And generally, women in the Middle East are treated as the property of their husbands or male relatives.

The misogynists of our region claim that this is because they love women so much - that they must be placed on pedestals and served like princesses, kept safely at home, so they don't have to do dangerous, stressful things like drive or ride bikes.

But we all know this is nonsense. The women of the Middle East are total bad-asses. We face society's structural sexism, and we fight against it each and every day. We suffer the abuses against us, but we don't do so in silence. We find ways to create, to resist, to lead.

We are more than someone's property. We are more than our choice of whether or not we cover our hair. We are doctors, lawyers, sports stars. We are actors and heroes and role-models. We always have been, and we always will be.

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