The goal was to create “a clear readable book, each woman’s bible; a book that can be found at each home and library, which contains answers to the questions which we are afraid to ask out loud, or to which we do not know where to find the answers.”
Simultaneously, the organization developed an Arabic resource in partnership with a group of Palestinian women living in Israel and other Arab women in the region. The Hebrew and Arabic adaptations are the first of their kind in research, scope and stories in the Middle East.
“Nashim LeGufan” is adapted to the unique needs of Jewish women and girls living in Israel, with related narratives, images and content. For example, it places emphasis on issues related to infertility and treatment, which is very common in Israel and fully paid by the government. At least 20 percent of Israeli women undergo fertility treatment, despite little or no information on its effects.
The book also discusses the political, ethical and health effects of state-mandated military service by all Israeli citizens, including young women between the ages of 18 and 20.
By boldly addressing issues taboo in Jewish society, the book encourages women to experience their bodies in positive ways. It also reframes cultural vocabulary and negative language constructions. For example, when describing older women, terms that honor midlife were substituted for commonly used negative words that translate to “age of wilting or loss.”
Dana Weinberg, founder and director of Women and Their Bodies, attended OBOS’s 40th anniversary symposium in 2011 and discussed the book during a panel on building power and brokering change, which can be viewed online.
The OBOS Global Initiative has provided extensive support on this project, most notably with project start-up and envisioning, as well as fundraising and promotion. OBOS continues to help increase access to this resource and has posted excerpts online (see below).
HOW TO OBTAIN COPIES
Al Mara wa Kayanha (2011)
Translation: Women and Their Bodies
Arabic, for Palestinian women living in Israel
OUR BODIES, OURSELVES PROJECT
The book provides Palestinian women resources to understand and protect their health rights, and offers health care providers a comprehensive view into the reality of Palestinian women’s lives in Israel.
“Al Mara wa Kayanha” is a product of a journey that lasted many years; a journey inspired by OBOS’s story of women joining together in a common struggle for social justice. It received tremendous support from women across the region, many of whom shared their experiences and expertise.
As a result, it integrates the experiences of hundreds of Palestinian women on the complicated issues affecting their lives — including their minority status and its impact on poverty, political/social marginalization, and access to health care — along with a critical feminist vision that aims to secure legal and social justice for all. It is an invaluable addition to existing feminist literature for Arab women and girls.
“Al Mara wa Kayanha” was the first of its kind in research, scope and stories in the Middle East. It was driven by a working group within Women and Their Bodies charged with envisioning, planning and implementing consensus-based decisions on the scope and format of their materials.
s working group, informally called the Counseling Forum for the Arabic Book, comprised Nabila Mana, Arabiya Mansur, Raghda Elnabilsy, Safa Tamish and Dana Weinberg. Elnabilsy, an editor of “Al Mara wa Kayanha,” attended OBOS’s 40th anniversary symposium in 2011 and took part in a panel on challenges to autonomy and activism, which can be viewed online.
The OBOS Global Initiative has provided extensive support, most notably with project start-up and envisioning, as well as fundraising and promotion. OBOS continues to help increase access to this resource and has posted excerpts online (see below).
HOW TO OBTAIN COPIES
For information on obtaining copies, please contact Women and Their Bodies: firstname.lastname@example.org
CONTENT AVAILABLE ONLINE
The following Arabic chapters are available in PDF format.
• مقدمة ورؤية مستقبلية (“Introduction”)
• صورة الجسد (“Body Image”)
• الصّحة النفسيّة (“Emotional Wellbeing”)
• الجهاز الجنسي والتناسلي للمرأة، الدورة لشهرية والوعي للخصوبة (“Sexual Anatomy, Reproduction & the Menstrual Cycle”)
• الأمراض المنقولة جنسيًا (“Sexually Transmitted Infections”)
• متلازمة نقص المناعة المُكتسبة – الإ (“HIV & AIDS”)
• العلاقة الجنسية الآمنه (“Safer Sex”)
• إبطال الحمل )الإجهاض (“Abortion”)
• سن الأمان (“Midlife & Menopause”)
• المرشد في جهاز الصحة وتسييس صحة المرأة (“Navigating the Health Care System”)
• التنظيم من أجل التغيير المجتمعي (“Politics of Women’s Health & Organizing for Change”)
COMMUNITY ACTION & ACTIVISM
The Counseling Forum for the Arabic Book was an informal working group that brought together Arab women across the region to advance health literacy, health outcomes and human rights of Arab communities within and beyond Israel.
Outside the working group, members work individually, together and in collaboration with other organizations to create change. They have expertise in developing social welfare projects, sexuality education and training, and special education.
Raghda Elnabilsy, an editor of “Al Mara wa Kayanha,” is a certified sex educator with extensive experience working with abused Arab women in Israel and researching the social, cultural and political implications of abuse.
Arabiya Mansur, who did the linguistic and cultural adaptation and editing, develops and drafts projects in the realm of social welfare.
Safa Tamish is the founder of Muntada — The Arab Forum for Sexuality, Education and Health. Created in 2006, Muntada responds to the health information needs of Palestinian women and girls, focusing on sexuality and reproductive health. Programs emphasize informed decision-making in the community and trainings for providers working on sexuality and reproductive health.
Nabila Mana is co-chair of Women and Their Bodies and coordinates the organization’s projects in the Arab sector.
A large team of nurses, doctors, photographers, artists, linguistic editors and interviewers brought energy and passion to this project, ensuring the Arabic resource will have many secure bases for distribution, consciousness-raising, and action.
In 2016 the book Girls and theirs bodies was published.
The book contains a chapter summarizing WTB’s work with girls and staff regarding health and sexual health