Arab Women Solidarity Association (AWSA)
The Arab Women's Solidarity Association was founded in Egypt in 1982 by Nawal El Saadawi in order to promote Arab women's active participation in social, economic, cultural, and political life. It was established by a group of 120 women who agreed that the struggle for the liberation of Arab people and freedom from economic, cultural and media domination cannot be separated from the liberation of Arab women. By 1985, AWSA United had 3,000 members and was granted consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations as an Arab non-governmental organization (UN ECOSCO).
Between 1982 and 1991, AWSA organized 4 international conferences. The 5th Conference was in Cairo, Egypt. AWSA has developed income generating projects for economically underprivileged women, published literary magazines and books, and produced films about Arab women's lives. In 1991, when AWSA took a stance against the Gulf War, the Egyptian government closed its headquarters in Egypt. AWSA took the government to court but no court decision was ever reached. AWSA's headquarters then shifted to Algeria and was shifted back to Cairo by 1996.
In North America, several AWSA chapters have existed. AWSA branches first formed in North America with the establishment of the AWSA branch in Seattle, Washington in 1994. AWSA United Seattle's first event was a benefit for the victims of the Hebron massacre (1994). Afterwards, AWSA members in Seattle organized numerous lectures and readings and developed coalition building projects with like-minded women groups such as a bridge-building event with African American women. AWSA's Seattle chapter published a newsletter and organized a delegation of Arab women for the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (1994) and the International Conference on Women in Beijing (1995). There have also been AWSA branches in San Francisco and the Midwest.See more