On May 13, 2011 Karama launched a working seminar on Leveraging Women’s Power in the Arab Revolutions with a keynote address by Egyptian doctor, scholar, women’s rights activist Nawa Saadawi.
In her address, Dr. Saadawi said:
“Women cannot be liberated in a country that is not liberated. So too we cannot be independent if the country and constitution and elections are not independent. We must remove the divisions of class and religion as well as gender that are used to divide us. Unity is power, and we cannot fight power without power.”
The working seminar is a response to unprecedented set of opportunities to advance women’s rights and promote women’s political participation in a new regional climate created by the Arab revolutions.
There are also very real challenges and a risk that women will be sidelined in the process of democratic transition in the region. Therefore the momentum to promote political participation and dignity and to fight violence against women in the region must be seized.
To respond to the events, the Arab women’s movement Karama and the Swedish Development Co-Operation Agency (SIDA), together with Hivos, and the Freedom from Fear Alliance are bringing together Arab women and men from several countries for an emergency regional consultation on political change in the Arab world.
The consultation – from 14-16 May in Cairo – will be a mechanism for women’s activists, groups and networks in countries across the region to share experiences and best practices, chart national and regional strategies for leveraging the Arab revolutions and upheavals intro concrete progress on women’s rights and political participation.
The event will consist of roundtables and working sessions featuring female politicians who have run successful and unsuccessful campaigns, constitutional scholars, members of several political parties, experienced political mobilization professionals, local and international political leaders and parliamentarians from EU member states.
During the sessions, participants will discuss the role of social media in the uprisings and national politics, regional linkages (or lack thereof), translating street protests into long-term political action campaigns, and the proper role for the international community in this new climate.
The program aims to produce a set of time-bound, top-priority goals and strategies to
improve women’s rights and political participation at the national and international levels.
For more information and to obtain a media invitation to the Cairo event please contact:
Khawla Mattar +20 (0)10 701 1222