The non-governmental organization Nazra for Feminist Studies has established a new award entitled the “Nazra Award for Feminist Knowledge Production” with the aim of encouraging the Egyptian feminist movement to make strides against the many obstacles standing in its way.
The award’s establishment comes after months of turmoil for the founder and executive director of Nazra, Mozn Hassan. In January 2017, an order to freeze the assets of Hassan and Nazra, as well as other human rights defenders, was upheld by an Egyptian court. The court’s decision was part of a broader case against rights activists and NGO leaders that first took place in 2011 before being revived in 2015. Many view the case as a crackdown on civil society groups.
“We, a group of Egyptian scholars and academics living abroad, have observed the crackdown on Hassan and Nazra with disbelief and worry, but also with a growing sense of responsibility regarding what we could do in such a dire situation,” said Nazra in the press release announcing the award. “As believers in the work that Nazra conducts, and in the role of feminist groups in their societies, we envisioned our show of solidarity must be to sustain this work and activism.”
The award hopes to inspire Egyptian women to follow the legacy Nazra seeks to generate through knowledge production, driven by women, on feminist topics. Nazra has previously focused on a litany of topics that relate to the feminist movement and women’s rights, including sexual violence against women, women’s presence in the public sphere, women’s political participation, legal reforms related to women’s human rights, and so forth.
“It is exactly this kind of feminist knowledge production that we believe is important to continue, and that we wish to play a role in sustaining,” explained Nazra in its statement. “This kind of research has made it possible to see that knowledge production is not exclusive to academics, but that political and social movements are also able to produce knowledge from their own lived experiences.”
Applicants are asked to write research papers and articles that tackle the Egyptian feminist movement, which was chosen as the topic due to the increased targeting of the movement and civil society organizations.
Only Egyptian women can apply for the award and they must have taken part or be actively taking part in a feminist activity. The research papers must be unpublished pieces of work and written in Arabic.
The award will be released annually and will consist of three different prizes, the three recipients of which will have their papers translated and a panel set up for them to discuss their work. While there are only three winners, all submissions for the award will be published on Nazra’s website.
The deadline for submission is October 15, and the winners will be announced on December 28, the date of Nazra’s founding. For more information on how to apply click here.
Photo credit: “No to street harrassment” by Mira Shihadeh