PhD student investigates Middle Eastern women working in digital media
Eiman Husain is a Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries PhD student and her research is centred on women working in digital media within the context of the Middle East.
Influential women in the Middle East have challenged conservative cultural and religious norms in traditional media; however, the digital era has created both new obstacles and opportunities for women all over the world. Eiman is exploring the relationship between digital media and female empowerment from a Middle Eastern perspective.
She started the first digital magazine in Kuwait in early 2017, StartUps, with periodical publications in support of successful start-ups and entrepreneurs. She decided to do her research on this topic after interviewing entrepreneurs and influencers around the world. She observed how women’s digital practices (including the platforms they use) are influenced by culture, gender and the political landscape. Eiman has been inspired to explore the impact of this in her work.
Developing a theoretical framework and using qualitative methodology, Eiman will produce case studies investigating the practices of influential women. The aim is to combat the limitations of women’s freedom because recently there have been too many stories in the Middle East about threats and challenges they are facing on digital media platforms. She hopes that the outcomes of her PhD will help find solutions to the problems facing women in the Middle East and to highlight the factors that are limiting women’s freedom in all aspects of their lives.
“I chose this subject after being struck by the reality of the issues in my field of work and the importance of empowering women in the digital arena. Portsmouth is a beautiful city and I picked the University of Portsmouth after many recommendations, including my Uncle who studied here when it was a Polytechnic in the 1970s. I have benefited from great facilities such as nest, who helped me manage my business, as well as meet like-minded people. I’ve also attended postgraduate workshops which have shaped my academic knowledge whilst still running my magazine”.
Her online magazine StartUps has developed into a platform that provides a wide range of business and media solutions and hosts events to help entrepreneurs engage with investors. Eiman has her own desk now in the nest office and has published the last four issues of the magazine from Portsmouth. Her expertise has led her to organise women’s circles creating a space to discuss challenges.
I believe that my background is a strong base to explore and answer the research questions, and there is potential for producing a podcast or series of women’s cases with BBC Arabia or Aljazeera Media.
I am now in my second year and have faced many challenges but I think my entrepreneurial spirit has helped me to overcome obstacles, and thanks to the postgraduate workshops plus feedback from lecturers and fellow students, I feel inspired and supported in my research.