As Arab women, we are raised in societies that shame girls for asking questions about their own bodies, and are intolerant towards them wanting to know or understand more about themselves. Many women are told not to ask, and just go into puberty with no knowledge, and later dive into marriage, with absolutely no background on the different experiences that they’ll face or go through.
Recently, it has become quite evident that women across the region are desperate for education about female anatomy, sexual education, childbirth, pregnancy, relationships, and even marriage and parenting.
A few years ago, a Facebook page stormed into the world of social media, and got everyone talking about it, with all women, both married and single, finding a place in it for themselves. Through this page, women share problems that they face as newly-weds, sex-related discoveries that they’ve only made after getting married, and sometimes their fears about marriage and sexual life in general. They later launched an educational website called Entaleqi, where women can reach out to therapists, psychiatrists, and gynecologists, in several fields, send their problems anonymously, and receive a reply from an expert.
Niswa (group of women) is another platform that promotes awareness regarding fertility and menstrual cycles and aims to help women make consensual and informed choices regarding their bodies, as well as addressing common myths and misconceptions about puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, among many others.
As a mother herself, Nour Emam, fertility, birth, and postpartum doula, launched Mother Being to help other mothers with their postpartum experience, their reproductive health, and overall motherhood experience. She is also breaking stereotypes and opening discussions on wrong, inherent information that many women have grown up to believe about themselves and their bodies.
On the same topic, but from a doctor’s perspective, Pregnancy & Women Health was recently created to help girls and mothers understand more about their virginity, common reproductive health concerns, and lately, the effect of COVID-19 on breastfeeding moms.
Although any topic related to women used to be a taboo, times are changing and society is too, and fortunately, more people are realizing the importance of such neglected education.