In February, a group of female leaders in the Arab world launched the Think Tank for Arab Women, with the goal of producing fresh knowledge of the issues of concern to women, sharing information and building alliances to enhance women’s efforts and promote their human rights, in collaboration with the National Council (NCFA) for Family Affairs, Karama and the Swedish Institute.
According to NCFA secretary-general, Dr Haifa Abu Ghazaleh, the Think Tank comprises a group of professionals and academics in order to achieve full participation of women in the field of development at the local, regional, and international levels.
Abu-Ghazaleh explained that the think tank will endeavor to enhance women’s conditions through the exchange of information, with regard to empowering women, achieving gender equality, highlighting the success stories of women in the Arab world, and mobilizing support and advocacy of women’s issues with a view towards influencing public policy.
Abu-Ghazaleh added that the idea of establishing the think tank was suggested two years ago by a group of women leaders in the field of family and children, in order to discuss the situation of Arab women, prepare qualitative studies on issues of concern to Arab women and build strategies that target women. The ongoing think tank will be convened in collaboration with Karama, the Swedish Institute and the National Council for Family Affairs.
The agenda of the think tank includes compiling qualitative studies on various issues of concern to women, the first of which will be a study of the impact of armed conflicts on women, children and families in areas of war and conflict, and of the role of women in building a culture of peace.
Abu-Ghazaleh emphasized Arab women’s need to examine priority issues, including women’s political participation, as female political participation in the Arab region is one of the lowest compared to other regions of the world. As such, the think tank will conduct studies and programs related to women, explaining their needs, and will present them to officials and decision-makers in Arab countries. In addition, one of the objectives of the think tank is ensuring a rapid response to women’s urgent issues in the Arab region. Criteria will be developed for assessing the status of women in Arab regions. A website that includes related research and studies will also be launched. Abu-Ghazaleh also noted that membership in the Think Tank will be open to female activists, leaders, and intellectuals from Arab states.