"EU political parties must raise the issue of women’s rights with counterpart parties in Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Algeria."
At the EuroMed Human Rights Network meeting in Madrid (7/8/9April) women activists from Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Palestine made this request to their colleagues from EU countries: “Ask your political Leaders and political parties to raise the issue of women’s rights whenever they meet their counterparts from Arab countries.” Their message to EU politicians is,“We want women’s human rights and equality in law, political rights, employment rights, property rights and family and social rights enshrined in our Constitutions.”
I was Facilitator for the day for the EMHRN Gender Network Seminar on ’Women’s meaningful participation in Transition.’ The urgency and excitement at the event was palpable. The women from Southern Mediterranean countries realise the Jasmine Revolutions have opened a brief unexpectd window of opportunity for women and men to gain rights and freedoms for too long denied them. Our Tunisian colleague at the meeting, a lawyer on the Tunisia Transition Governing Council was continually texting back to her colleagues. They were lobbying for a 50/50 gender balance in politics.
As Lesley Abdela implies, the Arab Spring will only progress towards real democracy and political, economic and societal success as nation states if the women have an equal say in their countries' future. The women took part fully in the overthrow of tyranny. However, if the men grab all the power, the future will again become very unpromising for all the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa, returning to the bad old days of authoritarian and corrupted rule.
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