Mrs. Magda El Sanousi - Sudan
Outstanding Arab Woman - 2012
Magda El Sanousi Sudan Magda Mohamed El Sanousi Omer is the country director of Oxfam GB in Lebanon. She manages the Arab Region Gender Equality program that covers: Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Occupied Palestinian Territory, and Yemen. A gender and development expert El Sanousi believes that women in the Arab region share the same issues, and if given the opportunities to explore and expand their potential, they are a driving force for positive change. She counts networking and coalition building as key factors in empowering women to achieve positive change regarding issues that directly affect their lives. El Sanousi believes in equal opportunities for women and has devoted the last 20 years to developing programs and mobilizing resources to help women succeed in this. During this time she has lobbied key institutions and governments about the importance of inclusive development that incorporates women’s strategic and practical needs. She has worked on promoting gender sensitive budgets and polices in Yemen; on advocating policy change in Iraq to give widows to access pensions, and on empowering women in remote villages in Egypt to vote and even stand as candidates in the Parliamentary elections. Currently El Sanousi’s is lobbying to include men in gender programming. She believes that unless male attitudes towards women change there will be few opportunities for inclusive social change. She has brought her vast experience on these issues to bear during workshops, meetings with students, and through her pioneering research, articles and reports on Gender and Masculinity. El Sanousi sees young women as future leaders. She commits her time to educating, advising and mentoring them and to building bridges between young activists and older feminists. She is determined that the Arab Women’s movement should cross geographical boundaries to unite diverse groups in order to work together for equality, and justice. Her dream is to establish the Oxfam Arab Women’s House to offer support to women. She is confident that this dream will be a reality because of the support she herself received throughout her career, from Oxfam GB, from women’s organizations, from her colleagues, and female activists from all over the region who have contributed to shaping who she is today.