"No democracy without equality” was the slogan of women participating in the Tunisian revolution. In the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings, women participated massively in demonstrations, on blogs and social networks. Women are also demonstrating in Bahrain, Yemen and Jordan and are active in women’s rights organisations across the region.
“We must now be vigilant in order to ensure that women participate fully in the new political landscapes”, underlined Souhayr Belhassen, FIDH President. “We are deeply concerned that there is not a single woman on the new Egyptian Constitutional Committee. This is unacceptable”.
What are women calling for? Do the transitions underway present new opportunities for women’s rights? Will their voices be heard? Will legislation in these countries finally advance towards full equality between the sexes? Will the reservations these states have entered to the Convention on the elimination of discrimination against women finally be withdrawn ? FIDH seeks to shed light on these questions in the dossier published today on the FIDH website, developed in partnership with Égalité.
While women participated massively in the struggle for de-colonisation in the region, for example in Algeria, they were largely forgotten following independence. They must not be forgotten in the aftermath of the current uprisings.
Throughout the Arab world, the fight for equality led by women’s rights organisations is more important than ever. There are unique opportunities to be seized to advance respect for their rights in the region.
Articles will be published throughout the month of March on the FIDH website, to ensure that the rights of those representing half the population of the Arab world are not forgotten. And because, as Sophie Bessis, FIDH Deputy Secretary General, says : “ A democracy without equality of the sexes will be a truncated democracy.”
 The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted on 18th December 1979 by the United Nations. It has now been ratified by 185 countries, or over 90% of member states of the United Nations, but it’s provisions are largely violated. The majority of Arab states have entered reservations to CEDAW