Who we Are
Al-Raida, meaning “The Pioneer,” is a bi-annual interdisciplinary semi peer-reviewed journal published by the Arab Institute for Women (AiW) at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Beirut, Lebanon.
Al-Raida’s mission is to give voice to women in the Arab region by enhancing understanding between the region and the world; highlighting scholarship on and by women in the region; promoting research on women’s rights and gender issues; and serving as a platform for young voices and activists across the region.
Al-Raida first appeared in May 1976, three years after the founding of the Arab Institute for Women (AiW), formerly known as the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW), which was the first institute of its kind in the Arab world. It started off as a thin newsletter consisting of a dozen stenciled pages, with the modest and limited purpose of reporting on the activities of IWSAW. With time, however, Al-Raida grew in size and scope, a development that was also gradually reflected in its appearance. Whereas initially it consisted mostly of profiles of women, conference reports, and summaries of studies, by the mid 1980s an important addition was made to include academic and research-based articles, thus making a qualitative and quantitative leap in terms of content and mandate.
By 1994, Al-Raida reached a new level of maturity with the introduction of a specialized section or “file” which focuses on cutting edge themes and often controversial issues related to women in the Arab world. In 2002, and in line with the technological advances that swept the publishing world in the last decade, the Institute made Al-Raida available online in both English and Arabic, thus allowing researchers and activists worldwide to have easy and instantaneous access to it. In 2007, Al-Raida was revamped in both appearance and content. It became smaller in size and new sections were introduced, namely the “young scholars” section and an original “book reviews” section.
More than three decades after its first appearance, in 2013, Al-Raida was turned into a biannual interdisciplinary peer-reviewed academic journal that contains scholarly articles of international standards as well as non-academic articles. Al-Raida continues to invite submissions that enrich the debate on women in the Arab world, whether in the form of interviews, opinion pieces, testimonials, short stories, poems, or essays.