Middle East and North Africa

Beijing+20 in Middle East and North Africa

"I support the uprising of women in the Arab world because for twenty years I was not allowed to feel the wind in my hair and on my skin," wrote Dana Bakdounis from Syria on her facebook page in 2012. Since then a lot has happened in the region, but the Arab Spring has not brought a real breakthrough for women's rights. 20 years after the World Conference on Women in Beijing the social position of women in the Middle East and North Africa is still contested.

Although the protests of 2011 and 2012 were significantly driven by young women, the ensuing political transition processes have not led to a sustainable strength of women's rights. In some cases the situation has even worsened, as in Egypt, where the number of female parliamentarians was lower after the revolution than under former President Mubarak. Particularly in the context of the conflicts in Syria and Iraq sexual violence against women and girls remains a major challenge that has taken on a new dimension in the prevailing situation of change. Only in Tunisia women have successfully fought for a better establishment and implementation of their rights, for example by the new electoral law that requires equal representation of men and women on the party lists. But even here the women's movement always has to avert attacks from conservative powers. Throughout the region Islamist forces are on the rise who want to curtail women's rights or prevent them from gaining more rights.



Our unique journey to implement UNSCR Resolution 1325 in Israel

Last December, the Israeli Government decided to establish a governmental committee to create a National Action Plan in the spirit  of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. The resolution calls on UN member states to protect women from violence, increase the participation of diverse women in decision-making bodies, and for the prevention of armed conflict. This video and the text that follows tells the story of the journey of civil society NGOs to create an Action Plan for Israel.

By Anat Thon-Ashkenazy , Netta Loevy

Beijing + 20 in Morocco: where do we stand?

While legislative and institutional progresses have been made in Morroco, the implementations of Beijing +20 often remain inadequate and below the citizens’ expectations due to a lack of budgetary resources or political willingness.

By Salma Kadiri

Reconfigured Challenges: Israel, Zionism and the Beijing Women's World Conference

The exceptional status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (which is one of the longstanding issues on the UN agenda) is one of the intriguing puzzles of current global feminist politics. Could it be that the situation of Palestinian women and girls under Israeli occupation is the most extreme breach of the Beijing Platform of Action?

By Dr. Sarai Aharoni

A decade of regional feminist activism

In the early 2000, the Collective for Research and Training on Development – Action, CRTD.A, and its network of feminist allies in the Arab region identified the denial of Arab women’s right to nationality to be a resilient form of state driven discrimination against women. How this reality changed during the last decade and what are the needed actions?  


Women, Revolution, Politics and Power

During the Arab uprisings, an unprecedented number of women took to the streets, paving the way for a more important role in politics. However, in the transitional period that follows, they now have to fight against their exclusion from the political arena.

By Dalal al-Bizri

Good to Know

  • Progress of the World's Women 2015/2016: detailed report by the UN Women on the economical barriers facing women, and strategies of improving the political participation of women on a global scale. more>>
  • Beijing Platform for Action
    Read the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action here
    An overview the Platform's 12 critical areas of concern by the UN Women. more>>
  • Women in Armed Conflicts: in the context of the CSW 59, the GWI co-hosted an event at concering a pressing issue for the Platform - women in armed conflicts. more>>


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