MEWSo aims to defend and protect women from violence both at home and in the wider community
Women and Leadership Conference

22nd October 2018

Although women make up 70% of the charity sector workforce, they make up less than half the senior managers and only a third of CEOs. This conference highlighted the issues around gender inequality in senior management in the voluntary sector, particularly leadership roles.

The conference addressed some of the challenges that women face to progression and leadership. The conference presented some examples of women who have achieved their ambitions against all odds, among them the Founder and Director of MEWSo Halaleh Taheri. The conference also explored how employers can better support women in the workplace to achieve their full potential. The aim was to start the conversation with Islington’s voluntary and community sector and local stakeholders to drive change at all levels.

The Women and Leadership Conference showcased some amazing and inspiring women. A big thank you to Voluntary Action Islington and Macquarie for putting on such a fantastic event.

Yanar Mohammed - President of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), Iraq.

Yanar runs a network of shelters to help survivors of abuse in Iraq and has helped more than 800 women leave violent situations.

Yanar Mohammed is on the BBC 100 Women 2018 list - view the other inspiring and influential women that made it onto the list here.
News at MEWSo
Celebrating the Centenary of Women's Suffrage
MEWSo is running a series of 4 workshops celebrating the centenary of women's suffrage in the UK. If you would like to join in, our next workshop will be on Saturday 8th December in Finsbury Park, Islington. Please contact Halaleh Taheri on 07958145666 oe email for more details.
MEWSo Services
Current Services

One-to-One Counselling

Location: Westminster and Islington
Languages: Arabic, Farsi, Dari, Kurdish and English
By appointment only
10 Free Sessions

Start Date: Every Wednesday
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm
Location: Penfold Community Hub, Westminster
Refreshments and childcare provided

Advice and Guidance

One-to-one sessions by appointment
Available Monday - Friday 10am-4pm
Location: Durham Road Resource Centre, Finsbury Park
Languages: Farsi, Kurdish, Arabic and English

One-to-one sessions by appointment
Available Wednesday 10am-4pm
Location: Church Street Neighbourhood Centre, Cherwell House, Penfold Street NW8 8PT
Languages: Farsi and English

Olive Club
Every Monday
Time: 10:00am-1:00pm 
Location: Wood Green Library, Haringey
Languages: English, Farsi and Kurdish
Activities: Social club with a variety of activities specified by service users
Refreshments provided

Olive Club
Every Saturday
Time: 10:00am-1:00pm 
Location: Durham Road Resource Centre, Finsbury Park
Languages: English, Farsi, Kurdish and Arabic
Activities: Social club with a variety of activities specified by service users
Refreshments provided
Children welcome!

Olive Club
Every Sunday
Time: 10:00am-1:00pm
Location: Edmonton Green Shopping Centre, Enfield
Languages: English, Farsi, Kurdish and Arabic
Activities: Social club with a variety of activities specified by service users
Refreshments provided

Body Balance 

Every Monday
Time: 10am - 12pm
Location: Penfold Community Hub, Westminster
Activities: Increase core strength, flexibility and a calm mind so the body is brought into balance.
Refreshments and childcare provided
Future Services

Celebrating Votes for Women Events

Saturday 8th December - Finsbury Park, Islington

Wednesday 12th December - Church Street, Westminster

The workshops will present the history of the women’s suffrage movement through a presentation by our Director (Halaleh Taheri), a short film and we will invite leading female members of the local BAMER community to do a speech. Each workshop will end with a discussion, refreshments and an art class where participants can create their own suffrage sash with a slogan for their own personal cause.

All our services are free however you must book to secure a place.

Booking and further information contact:
Phone: 07958145666

We also offer weekly befriending and one-to-one English Language sessions with a volunteer. If you would like support learning English or just want a friendly person to chat to please contact us.
MEWSo Winner of the VAI Volunteer of the Year Award
For the second year running MEWSo won the Voluntary Action Islington Volunteer of the Year Award. We nominated two of our most dedicated Islington resident volunteers, Fatima Zahra Habri and Salima Belhadi. Zahra won the award for her outstanding support of our organisation. 

The Islington Gazette wrote an article on the event - click here to view
MEWSo visits the Frida Exhibition
MEWSo is very grateful to the V&A for giving us 15 free tickets to see the amazing, Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up Exhibition. It was a brilliant day out for staff, volunteers and service users to find out more about the feminist and socialist artist, Frida Kahlo.

Our volunteer, Salima, wrote the article below about the exhibition.

It was a great pleasure to visit the V&A Museum with MEWSo on the 27th of October. Frida Kahlo’s exhibition was really catching as it covers nearly every aspect of the Mexican artist’s life. Frida was born on July 6th 1907 in Mexico with fragile health as she caught polio at the age of six and then at sixteen was a victim of a bus accident which had very bad consequences for her physically however this shaped her artistic life.

The two incidents in Frida’s life which caused her disability left her with a limp and meant she had to wear a cast corset in order to hold her body upright because her vertebras and spine were badly affected by the bus accident which led her to use a wheelchair and being hospitalised several times. Although Frida’s life seems to be a tragedy but she transformed it into a bright career in painting. Most of her paintings depict some period of her life because as she said “I was most of the time lonely, that’s why I paint myself”. The exhibition was full of Frida’s beautiful paintings as well her makeup, colourful Mexican dresses, corsets and boots which were especially made for her.

Frida was a member of Mexican communist party supporting women emancipation in a very machos society. In Frida’s face I saw a determination of a woman to achieve her goals despite the life obstacles; she died at the age of forty six and left a wonderful legacy of painting not only to her family and the world but also to her own country Mexico where she is considered as a symbol of nationalism.
Thanks to MEWSO for this fantastic discovery.
Sharia, Segregation and Secularism Conference 
25th November 2018

Director and Founder of MEWSo, Halaleh Taheri, and MEWSo Welfare Advice Worker, Sodabeh Gashtasebi, attended the inspiring conference Sharia, Segregation and Secularism on Sunday to represent MEWSo. The conference raised key issues surrounding religious arbitration, the veil and gender segregation at schools and universities, including as part of the religious-Right's assault on women's rights. It also highlighted the voices of people on the frontlines of resistance, the gains made by secularists both in the UK and internationally, and the importance of secularism as a minimum precondition for equality. Also addressed were challenges that secularists continue to face and priorities for continued collective action
Polygamy is a solution!!
As Algeria is about to elect a new president in 2019, the race has already started and many political parties are introducing their candidates who are presenting their agendas to the people to win the hearts and minds. However, this election has brought a new sensitive topic to the debate, speaking about the dreadful raising unmarried women number (13 millions) as a real threat to the society is unprecedented.
One of the candidates seems to find a solution to the issue which according to him is an opening door towards the problem resolution, the big proposal is polygamy. He is basically encouraging men to marry a second wife by providing them with houses as well as paying for their weddings. Women who accept being a second wife are offered grants in order to avoid any financial trouble which could exist with the first wife who might be worried about sharing expenses with the second wife and therefore should give her consent to her husband to marry another time.
To my point of view this proposal is appalling, revolting and diminishing to women. This candidate had rather to look at amending the legislation or giving more right to women when it comes to marriage. A lot of Algerian women struggle when they marry foreigners, usually their partners are not granted Algerian nationality, and they can only be residents as a spouse without benefitting from the same right as the natives. In addition, women have to have a guardian when as a consequence they always end up to have limited choices therefore they don’t have free will in term of choosing a husband from different countries, religions or sex orientation contrary to men who always have more than one option.
There are still a lot of points to discuss around this topic but what worries me the most is a man who is speaking about women issues, this candidate is called Latresh which literally means the deaf in English. I think, he should stop being deaf and start listening to a woman like me who have a better vision towards the future.

Article by MEWSo volunteer, Salima Belhadi.
A demonstration of women's rights activists try to march to Taksim Square to protest against gender violence in Istanbul, on November 25, 2018, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Read more here.
Londoner Cleo (Gloria Williams) was given a ‘gift’ at age seven. A gift that has left her with type 3 Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). Bullet Hole (written by Gloria Williams) is a powerful play that explores a violent offense against human rights. One that isn’t often spoken about or rendered in the form of a play. The issue is  tackled in this play head-on, making no attempts to be euphemistic or soften the painful reality of women who survive these procedures. However with a entrance price of £18, the audience was mainly white and middle class. If this play could be accessible to communities affected by FGM then its impact would have been greater. Nevertheless the courage of the writing is by far the play’s greatest strength.

Review by Kate Oboussier

Nadia Murad - from rape survivor in Iraq to Nobel Peace Prize

Nadia Murad is an Iraqi Yazidi who was tortured and raped by Islamic State (IS) militants and later became the face of a campaign to free the Yazidi people.

In 2014, she was captured and endured three months as a sex slave at the hands of the militants after they swept through the area of northern Iraq where she lived with her family.

She was bought and sold several times and subjected to sexual and physical abuse during her captivity.

Read more here.

Documentaries to Watch

Free Documentaries
BBC Iplayer
World’s Most Dangerous Cities with Ben Zand: Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea has been described as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. Some estimates say that 70% of women in PNG will be raped in their lifetime.
Watch here

Panorama: Can Violent Men Change?

Panorama explores courses and therapies designed to stop domestic abusers from reoffending, asking how effective these interventions are and if violent men can ever really change. 

Watch here

Our World: Justice for Qandeel?

Qandeel Baloch was murdered in her bed, the victim of a so-called honour killing that rocked Pakistan and the world. She was a social media sensation, a young woman from a poor village who became famous for her sexually provocative online appearances. After her murder, a new law against honour crimes was passed. Four members of Qandeel's family, along with a celebrity TV cleric, are on trial but justice for Qandeel appears elusive. 

Watch here
Calendar Dates
5th December - International Volunteer Day
It is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organisations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), United Nations agencies, government authorities and the private sector.

10th December - Human Rights Day
On 10 December every year, the world commemorates the day in 1948 on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

18th December - International Migrants Day
Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalisation, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places.

20th December - International Human Solidarity Day
  • a day to celebrate our unity in diversity;
  • a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements;
  • a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity;
  • a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals including poverty eradication;
  • a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.
Our mewsletter is issued every two months, if you require more up to date information on our services please visit our website or contact Kate Oboussier at
If you would like to write an article, share a personal experience, give feedback on a MEWSo service or advertise your organisation in next month's Mewsletter
Please contact: Kate Oboussier
Copyright © 2018 Middle Eastern Women and Society Organisation, All rights reserved.

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