HELPING MENA WOMEN REACH THEIR POTENTIAL
On International Women’s Day (8 March), women’s rights and achievements take centre-stage. In the Middle East, where this focus on gender equality is urgently needed, SAT-7’s programs are helping women to transform their lives and societies.
This year, International Women’s Day (IWD) follows the unprecedented #MeToo movement, which has seen more than a million women around the world speak out against sexual harassment. This campaign has shone a light on the issues women still face – including in the MENA, where these problems are often severe and even life-threatening.
Women in the MENA often routinely face gender-based violence and harassment. Cairo, Egypt’s capital, was recently named the world’s most dangerous megacity for women, while studies have found that more than 90 percent of women in Egypt and Afghanistan have been sexually harassed. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child marriage, and forced marriage are widespread. Women lack rights and opportunities and face discrimination in many areas of life.
A LONG WAY TO GO
Despite these challenges, MENA women are not passive victims. They are strong, capable, and a force for change in their region. Significant progress towards gender equality has been made since the last IWD, with new laws in Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia providing women with greater rights and protection.
But there is still a very long way to go before Middle Eastern societies see women the way God does. The Bible is clear that both men and women are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27) and have equal value in His eyes.
SAT-7 is proud to offer many programs that celebrate and support Arabic-, Turkish-, and Farsi-speaking women across the region. As many MENA women are illiterate or even confined to their homes, satellite television is the perfect medium to help raise them up.
HELPING WOMEN CHANGE THEIR WORLD
Several programs address the problems women face head-on and encourage them to succeed against the odds. Start from Here (SAT-7 ARABIC) highlights the harmful effects of discrimination and stereotyping, encouraging women to challenge these in their own lives. Needle and New Thread (SAT-7 ARABIC), a popular talk show, gives women the chance to discuss social issues in a place where their voices are valued.
Meanwhile, the empowering program She’s the Story (SAT-7 ARABIC) profiles highly successful MENA women, inspiring viewers to follow in the footsteps of figures such as Tahani al-Gebali, Egypt’s first female judge. A similar segment features on the daily women’s show Homemade (SAT-7 TÜRK).
“We are speaking to Turkish women who have become lawyers, doctors, psychologists, researchers, etc,” says Deniz Colak, who presents Homemade. “We want our audience to be inspired by these courageous women.”
Women and War (SAT-7 ARABIC) brings to light a little-known truth – that it is women who often shoulder the greatest burden at times of conflict. This program tells the true stories of women victims of violence who have walked very painful paths, often finding great strength within themselves.
THRIVING IN EVERY AREA
Many other programs help women thrive in their relationships with God. Facing the Mirror (SAT-7 ARABIC) allows women the priceless opportunity to learn what the Bible has to say about women’s issues without input from a male teacher. The new program Women of the Bible (SAT-7 PARS) will help viewers draw strength from the stories of inspirational biblical women. Sarah’s Daughters (SAT-7 PARS) also challenges harmful beliefs about gender and helps viewers see themselves through God’s eyes.
SAT-7 is also there when women simply need to learn a new skill or boost their confidence. Homemade (SAT-7 TÜRK), which provides women with many different creative outlets, and One Kitchen One Story (SAT-7 TÜRK) which uses traditional cuisine to help Christian women tell their stories, are just two examples.
As the world marks International Women’s Day, please pray that SAT-7’s programs will continue to help women stand up for their rights and improve their own lives.
 Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation
 Source: UN Women
 Source: Women and Children Legal Research Foundation