Egypt has progressed significantly in the realm of women's empowerment over the past few years. Many initiatives have developed online and on the streets to help women progress in and engage with a society that makes day-to-day life difficult for women. However, there still remains stigma surrounding certain women's issues and their ability to discuss them freely. In a culture riddled with taboos and 3eib kedas, there are very few safe spaces where people - women, particularly - can openly express their personal, social, and psychological concerns. Seeing the need and filling the gap, Nooun was born.
Nooun is essentially a women's magazine with the spirit of a personal blog. We're already in love. Most websites and social media pages in Egypt that target women's social and mental health concerns are in English, geared to a particularly westernised demographic. Breathing a breath of fresh air into this seemingly saturated market, Nooun brings this Western concept of the women's blog-based website to Egypt, and does so entirely in Arabic to target an often ignored demographic.
Deriving its name from the Arabic linguistic element, nooun alniswa, an incorporation of the letter nooun when referring to a group of only women in third person, this website focuses on all things 'woman' in the Arab culture. Nooun is an online media tool set to help Arab women develop their personal and social skills, and raise their self-esteem. According to their Facebook page, Nooun challenges the negative impressions of women in Arab culture and encourages them to engage socially through the multiple platforms available to them. Go get 'em, ladies! That's what this is all about.
Let's get something straight: Nooun is not a male-bashing no-men zone. Quite the contrary, actually. Nooun prides itself on the safe incorporation of men and their opinions and perspectives on the platform in a healthy and safe manner. Present on Facebook
, and through their website
, Nooun aims to "talk about everything, but we are just like anyone who's confused in the world but refuses to give up." Comparing their digital safe space to that of the warmth of a home, Nooun touches on common and taboo subjects for women who live immersed within the Arab culture. Depression, mental health issues, children, pleasure - these are just a sample of the topics openly discussed on Nooun by writers and contributors from their community and in regards to women. Unconventional, isn't it? But, that's what we love about it. From their creative illustrations to the thought-provoking nature of their discussions, Nooun is making unparalleled movements in the right direction to break the stigma against taboo topics for women and to create a safe space for Arab women to express themselves.