Monday, March 5, 2012

Challenges and prospects for gender equality in the context of the Arab uprisings, part II

On Friday 2 March, the organisation Karama organised a conference on the role of Arab women’s rights activists in the Arab Spring.


Greater representation of women in decision making processes in countries in the MENA region, increased participation and representation of female - civil society - leaders from the Arab region in the international analysis and public dialogue on the Arab Spring and the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 were the main topics on the agenda during the conference.


Approximately fifteen NGO leaders and women’s rights activists from Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Somalia, and Sudan presented three main panels:

1. Are the Arab women shaping the future after the Arab Spring

2. Striving for new constitutional rights in the context of Islamist electoral victories

3. Women, peace and security: demanding accountability for implementing resolutions 1325 and 1820 in the Arab region


Are the Arab women shaping the future after the Arab Spring

Transitional governments have marginalized women from political power. Few women were named to the constitutional committees and interim Cabinets of Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya. Only eight women were elected to Egypt’s 500-member parliament for the next five years. During the session at the CSW the lack of representation of women after the Arab Spring in decision making processes was addressed. The event intended to convey the recommendations of Arab women’s rights leaders to – international – policymakers in order to address the lack of their representation in official decision making processes.


Women, peace and security: demanding accountability for implementing resolutions 1325 and 1820 in the Arab region

In the struggle to reverse women’s lack of representation, the UN Security Council’s mandatory Resolution 1325 and subsequent Resolutions 1820, 1888, 1889, and 1960 are an invaluable piece of international law calling for increased roles and representation of women in formal peace processes, conflict resolution, and transitional governments, and prosecution of sexual violence as a weapon in wartime. The group of women used the CSW event to invoke Resolution 1325 and call for increased roles and representation of women in the Arab region’s politics and transition processes.

Besides the event the group of female activists from the MENA region had lobby and advocacy meetings with UN agency leaders, official delegations of Member States and representatives of the – international – women’s movement, trade unions etc.


After the event a number of recommendations were presented: Here you find the complete list of recommendations.


Hivos supported the conference of Karama to provide a platform for women from the Middle East to be represented during the CSW.


For more information please contact Jessie Hexspoor, Programme Officer West Asia Hivos at jhexspoor@hivos.nl.

1 comment:

loeky droesen said...

It remains disheartening that women's rights are disappearing from the transitional agenda in the regions. Good luck on the work to keep this issue on the political agenda.