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Women and Gender in the Middle East
AUD students explore the relation and heritage
25/01/2015
The School of Arts and Sciences at AUD recently visited the Women’s Museum of Dubai as part of the Women and Gender in the Middle East course.

The Women’s Museum is a unique space in the Arab world and specifically in the Gulf region to explore and celebrate the lives of women in the UAE, and to appreciate their achievements.
 
This cultural project was established by Emirati professor Rafia Ghubash in 2012 in order to preserve the history of women in the UAE and break down stereotypes and reveal the extraordinary role that women have played in defining their culture and shaping their society, from Sheikhas to pioneers in education and business, as well as poets. A special hall is dedicated to the heritage of the renowned poet Ousha Bint Khalifa, known also as ‘The Girl of the Arabs’.
 
Donated artwork and artefacts include photos from those living in the area, showing how women were able to read and write contrary to many beliefs, and real estate documents showing how women bought and sold land, and had businesses, from as early as the late 1940s and 1950s. The second floor includes a women’s studies center, featuring walls covered with bookcases full of literature written by Emirati women, and a gallery featuring local and international work by both men and women.
 
“Visiting the Women’s Museum of Dubai was an important informal learning experience for students. It exposed them to in-depth information on the UAE society and the role of women in its development. It also allowed them to connect with Emirati women who are contributing to share this information, and to discuss thoughts and opinions,” expressed Dr. Pamela Chrabieh, Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern Studies.
 
“The Women’s Museum in Dubai is one of only four in the world which focus on women’s heritage. The museum foregrounds the political, economic and intellectual achievements of women, rather than just what people first assumed it would be about — perfume, makeup and clothes,” she concluded.
 
The Women and Gender In The Middle East course at AUD explores traditional gender roles in Middle East society, historically and in modern times. It focuses on the lives of key female figures in Middle East history with a view to delineating societal attitudes towards women in the region up to the modern day. The course also examines the role played by religion and religious authorities in the formation and confirmation of such attitudes. In addition, the imperatives of contemporary Middle Eastern women.
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