Womanity at the 2017 Geneva Book and Press Fair

The Womanity Foundation has convened four intrepid writers, journalists and activists to a roundtable discussion on “Arab Women and the Media: A Cultural Revolution” on 27 April 2017 from 3 to 4:30 pm in the Arab Cultures’ Pavilion at the Geneva Book and Press Fair held at Palexpo.

The event features:

Joumana Haddad, Lebanese poet, writer, journalist and human rights activist – one of the world’s most influential and celebrated cultural and social activists, but also one of the most controverted. She writes deliberately personal, often explicit poetry; edits the cultural pages of Lebanon’s leading daily, An-Nahar; and publishes Jasad, a magazine dedicated to the body with serious reportage about polygamy, virginity and forced marriage, but also erotic stories and personal testimony. Her recent publications in English translation include: “I Killed Scheherazade” ( 2010), “Superman is an Arab” (2012), “The Third Sex” (2015).
Oumayma Ajarraï, Moroccan blogger with ONORIENT, a webzine “that celebrates the artistic and cultural effervescence of the Maghreb and the Middle East”. Oumayma co-launched Onorient’s “Rihla”, a physical and existential journey which took her on a 5-months tour of North Africa and the Middle East, with the goal to report on contemporary artists who are part of the Arab culture revival.
Asmaa Guedira, Womanity’s Arabic Edutainment Programme Manager and Global Connector, Coordinator and Community builder at OuiShare. A Moroccan-French digital nomad, she creates synergies in the areas of gender, collaborative innovation and social entrepreneurship, across Europe, Brazil, the Middle East and Africa, mainly through writing, speaking, curating and facilitating events and gatherings.
Maurine Mercier, award-winning francophone free-lance radio and television journalist based in Tunisia since 2016. She has recently covered stories from Libya and other parts of North Africa, striving to bring new perspectives and deeper understanding to audiences across Europe. Maurine will moderate the conversation.
The panel will be discussing how the presence of women in the Arab media disrupts the media and political landscape. Who are these women? How much influence do they have? What are the challenges for equality between men and women in the media space, and how are they overcoming them? As well as other topics such as: the new face of feminism in digital and social media; how the representation of women is evolving; whether this change is reflected in public space.

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In a bold move to push the boundaries of gender stereotypes, Womanity will also sponsor the Salon’s exhibition “Héro(ïne)s” on women’s representation in cartoons. Mafalda, Adela Blanc-Sec, Anita Bomba, Natacha, Lou, Yoko Tsuno, Cherry, Becassine, Nävis, Joséphine, Tamara – are the rare cartoon heroines in a hyper-masculine universe. Nearly 180 years after the birth of the comic book female protagonists are still too often relegated to subservient roles.

heroines poster - salon du livre Geneve 2017

As such, the Héro(ïne)s Exhibition features 22 authors of comics who were invited to freely reverse the genders of mythical figures of francophone and international comic books

This saw the creation of Tintine, Lucky Lucy, Coco Maltèse, Micheline Vaillant or Vulverine.
The parody has been put in place to make people laugh but also to make people reflect on the surprising (im)balance of genders in the comic strip.
The exhibition features the works of Bgnet, Yann Le Pon, Nancy Pena, Nicolas Bannister, Marion Mille, Boulet, Florence Dupré, Latour, Efix, Virginie Augustin, Jérôme Jouvray, Hélène Becquelin, Lucy Mazel, Mathieu Reynes, Lucie Albon, Matthieu Forichon Jean-Yves Ferri and Cécile Morvan, as well as the exceptional contributions of Mathieu Bertrand, Grégoire Berquin, Anne De Angelis and Yann Damezin, Emy, Gredziger, Chantal Montellier, Jonathan Munoz and Julien Paré-Sorel and Maud Riemann.
Designed by Lyon BD Festival, based on an idea and a realization by Jean-Christophe Deveney with the support of four doctoral students from the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon and staged for the Salon du livre by Delémont’BD, this exhibition reverses and challenges the mainstream approach to gender and representations.

Jean-Christophe Deveney will be at the Fair on Friday 28 April on the “Scène de la BD”, and on Saturday 29 April with Hélène Becquelin and Virginie Augustin, two of the authors involved in the project.

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For additional information and media requests, please contact info@womanity.org or call Womanity on +41 22 544 39 60.

We have pairs of tickets to give away. If wish to receive two free invitations, please send us a message on Womanity’s Facebook page telling us what you like about these projects. We’ll be giving tickets away on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
About the Geneva Book Fair:

Every year, the Geneva Book and Press Fair, the second largest French-language book fair in the world and the largest in Switzerland, attracts 100,000 fans of the printed word and an impressive 1,000 authors. Over five days, the event brings together readers, writers, publishers, booksellers and media in a convivial atmosphere where the focus is on pleasure, interaction and the thrill of discovery.