News briefs for week of June 8, 2009

This week, the Iranian elections take place – and women make their mark. Also, a story on a women’s club in Phoenix and Hama’s matchmaking efforts in Gaza.
This week marked a tight presidential election between 52-year-old conservative incumbent Ahmedinejad and 67-year-old reform candidate and former Prime Minister Mousavi. Support for both campaigns highlighted the importance of women in this election. Although neither campaign is endorsed by the umbrella organization of women’s groups in Iran, women around the country are lobbying for changes to the law and constitution in an effort to improve the status of women in the country.

JoAnn Mullooly, owner of north Phoenix’s Club for Women was featured this week in a story on the website AZCentral.com. Mullooly estimates that 10 percent of the 1,700 female members of her club are Muslim and another 10 percent are Orthodox Jews. Mullooly works to maintain the women-only atmosphere of the club by stopping male visitors at the front desk and scheduling repairs for workmen after hours.

This week Hamas’s matchmaking efforts were featured in a story by the Associated Press. Hamas oversees the Tayseer Association for Marriage and Development in Gaza, a matchmaking organization that arranged about 40 marriages in 2007. The organization responds to a pronounced need amongst the women of Gaza, who may be treated as unpaid housemaids by their relatives if they are to remain unmarried.

Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah.

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