Women’s Voices Now seeks to empower all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their free expression, thereby giving voice to the struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights.
Our Story +
In Muslim-majority societies where extremist political groups wield increasing influence over political, social, and economic institutions, women face both legal and cultural impediments to their basic freedoms and civil rights. Yet, these are the very women who possess and exercise an incredible capacity for transforming their communities from patriarchal societies to more open and tolerant societies, accepting of diverse religious, political, and social standpoints. No group is better equipped to present the issues facing women of Muslim-majority societies than the women who live them each day.
At the same time, the world is waking up to the fact that women are at the forefront of challenging abusive and limiting political, religious, economic, social, and educational environments, that eventually affect us all. Global awareness of the benefits of investing in women and in those who challenge systems perpetuating gender inequality are becoming more widespread in the search for sustainable solutions to our shared challenges.
We believe that amplifying women’s voices—and those of the men who support gender equality—is a guaranteed way to contribute to a more equitable and just world. For lasting change, women’s voices calling for full and free expression must be heard, their humanity must be recognized, and their ideas and contributions must be implemented. Women’s Voices Now is our contribution to a global women’s rights movement in which women and their supporters are setting the agenda for change.
Women’s Voices Now seeks to empower all women living in Muslim-majority societies by promoting their free expression, thereby giving voice to the struggles for civil, economic, political, and gender rights. We carry out our mandate by providing free, online platforms for film, art, writing, and social-media technology. In doing so, we connect people and resources striving for these common goals.
The keystone of our work is our bi-annual online short-film festival in which we award $30,000 to filmmakers (women and men), in the categories of fiction, documentary, experimental, and student. Prize money is often used by these artists and activists to support their ongoing women’s rights-focused projects.
Through our inaugural project, Women’s Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival (2011), we brought 98 short films from 40 countries to the global community. This first installment of short films became the largest existing collection focused on women living in Muslim-majority societies anywhere in the world, all of which continue to be available for instant viewing on our website. Because of WVN, scores of women and men now speak directly to each other and to a global audience, helping them become catalysts for change in their societies and beyond.
Our second online short-film festival, Women Bought and Sold: Voices United Against the Violence (summer 2014), focuses on the issues of sex trafficking, slavery, domestic servitude, forced marriage, sexual harassment, sexuality, and sexual freedom. These types of human rights violations have become increasingly common on a global scale, largely because victims lack support, oppressors are not held accountable, and individuals too often turn a blind eye. Through the 40 entries submitted to this festival, WVN hopes to display the role of men and women in Muslim-majority societies, in eradicating such injustices and to develop the extending network committed to achieving awareness and justice.
Through the platforms of written and visual expression, and community activism, we foster and enhance the international dialogue on women’s rights and encourage engagement from a worldwide audience.
* The nature of our online film festivals allows us to showcase our films on our global tours and university tours. The global and university tours are where WVN’s volunteer team makes an impact on the ground, as we reach audiences and facilitate conversations about women’s issues that may not usually have a platform for discussion. Our events take place in community centers, refugee camps, universities, private homes, and anywhere else we are invited. This is also how we network with aspiring filmmakers and local women’s rights activists from Muslim-majority societies. Our global tours and university tours, thus far, have brought us to Lebanon, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Israel, West Bank, Turkey, Morocco, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Visit our Travel Blog to read about some of our experiences abroad.
* Each month we publish a new issue of The WVoice, a publication of Women’s Voices Now, that features written articles and audiovisual entries produced by a range of individuals—from academics to on-the-ground activists—whose research and work will receive more support, the wider the circles in which they are read.
Please consider contributing to these projects via our Donate page.
• that the equality of each human being, irrespective of gender, ethnicity or religion, is innate and immutable.
• that no faith, religion, race or culture is a basis for one group to claim and act superior to another group.
• that women and men are both entitled to basic human rights and free expression.
• that no group, majority or minority, should force its opinions and beliefs on any other.
• that the only acceptable intolerance is that which is directed towards intolerance itself.
• that adherents of all faiths have the right to arrive at, and practice, their personal beliefs without fear of reprisal, repression or persecution.
• that violence, or the incitement thereto, is never an acceptable response to the free expression of critical thinking, alternative views, peaceful protests, and opposing media, literature and discussion.
We invite all those who share our vision, beliefs and goals to join us.
Women’s Voices Now
46-E Peninsula Center
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274-3562
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At Women's Voices Now, we're inspired by the way individuals and organizations apply their passions, resources and talents to make our global community a kinder and more peaceful place. Our network is a group full of activists, entrepreneurs, artists, as well as international and grassroots organizations, that are tirelessly working towards expanding human rights and making gender equality a norm in all corners of the world. Below is a list of those people and groups that help us make Women's Voices Now possible. We are grateful to each of them and look forward to building further relationships to support our common humanitarian goals.