The Role of Arab Women in Emerging Democracies

Rabat, Morocco, 30 September 2011


The Arab world today finds itself facing major challenges in establishing democracy and conditions of life that meet the requirements of human rights. Situations differ from one country to another: while some countries are advancing on the road to democracy, the situation in other countries gives great cause for concern.

Women are integrally involved in this process, playing since the start of the uprisings a pioneering role in the “Arab Spring.” The exclusion of women from laying the foundations for democracy represents an injustice. It is therefore essential that they find their place in the global vision of a State that is governed by the rule of law and by a citizenship that gives the fullest expression to human rights.

Indeed, to incorporate half of the population on the road to democracy, at a time when these countries are at a crucial stage in their transition, is not just a challenge but a necessity, something that will allow women, whose potential is often underused, to consolidate these developments and make them irreversible. In this way, the Arab countries will be able to optimise their chances of success, as much in the economic as in the social domain. As a result, the participation of Arab women in systems of governance is absolutely essential.

The Socialist International Women, which works all over the world to promote women’s rights and their equal representation in politics:

Encourages Arab women to play a decisive role in the transitional institutions in order to establish new institutional structures in the different countries;

Voices its great concern at the repression, physical violence and other ill treatment suffered by the citizens of many countries, and which affect women in particular;

Demands the immediate release of all women arrested and imprisoned for their beliefs or because of their participation in demonstrations;

Confirms its support for the Arab peoples’ struggle to build true democracies committed to promoting women’s autonomy in every sphere of life, free of any form of discrimination or exploitation;

Confirms its full commitment with progressive Arab women in their struggle for political equality, in terms of both equal rights and equal participation in decision-making and

Reiterates the importance of promoting women’s organisations in the Mediterranean region, the Caucasus and the Middle East, with a view of exchanging ideas and experiences that will strengthen solidarity between women of these regions and promote a culture of peace and coexistence.

Finally, the Socialist International Women:

Supports and demands the active participation of women in all democratic processes known as the “Arab Spring” and in all other processes seeking democracy in the world, and highlights the importance of women’s rights as a crucial part of these processes;

Demands an immediate solution to the Middle East conflict in order to ensure a just and sustainable peace in the region, the admission of a Palestinian state in the United Nations, and the acknowledgement of the central role women can play in overcoming conflict;

Reaffirms its support to the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, which emphasizes the importance of women’s participation in peace and democratisation processes and

Stresses that it is of crucial importance to recognise the progress achieved in solving the on-going conflicts in the Mediterranean region and to implement past resolutions of the Socialist International that promote democracy, equality and human rights in the region.




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By Irmtraut Karlsson

This book tells the history of the first one hundred years of the Socialist International Women