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The Global Women Project

evolves from my desire to bring awareness through painted portraits of influential women from around the world. The blog is intended to share their contribution to humankind and inspire or motivate society towards an improved quality of life. To view the project's progress: globalwomenproject.com


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WINTER 2015 THE DEBUT of NADINE

Nadine

Global Women Project: Nadine, Saudi Arabia 82 x 82 inches Multimedia

On December 12th of this year a landmark event occurred in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Elections were held and for the first time in the country’s history, women not only voted, they were on the ballot, and 18 women won!  This remarkable moment in history results from the very brave efforts of those who have spoken up for women’s equality. The highly spirited and passionate journalist, Nadine Al-Bedair, has been such an advocate throughout her journalistic career, despite hate mail and the like.  Her portrait for the Global Women Project is now complete and in celebration of this earth rocking change in her native land we proudly present the portrait here.  The image of Nadine, beautifully dressed in black lace stimulates conversation about women being covered, and lace is used as a metaphor in the portrait to open those questions.

Saudi Elections Headline

Nadine grew up in the conservative Arab kingdom. She had one father, two mothers, and 15 siblings. Why two mothers? Well, in Islam men can have as many as four spouses at a time. Nadine’s tireless effort for women’s right to drive and other equality issues has stimulated debate that focuses on women’s rights. In an interview she said, “Muslim women have tried before to point out the inequalities in the polygamous marriage system, but nobody listened. I had to scream to start a debate.”  Her scream took the form of an article in an Egyptian newspaper that challenged the issue of polygamy. In reality, Al-Bedair, who for years hosted a women’s-rights TV show called “Equality”, doesn’t think multiple spouses are such a great idea. For daring to question the supposedly God-given status quo, she has been subject to much adversity and fury from traditional quarters. Noting that she has also received hundreds of letters of support she said, “I’ve got people talking, and I’m proud of that.”

And so, congratulations to you Nadine, to the others fighting this good fight, to the women and to the men of Saudi Arabia. This first step towards equality was hard won, but it signals major progress for the region.
-by John A. Kuri

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