Conference Report—The Arab Awakening and Gender: Challenges and Opportunities for Women
To acknowledge the critical role played by Arab women in the Arab Awakening and to shed light on the challenges and opportunities facing women in the Middle East and North Africa post-Arab Awakening, the Kelly Day Endowment on the Status of Women and Human Rights in the Middle East of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy hosted a conference on February 21, 2013, titled “The Arab Awakening and Gender: Challenges and Opportunities For Women.” The goal of the conference was to both highlight the challenges facing women in the Middle East and to demonstrate that, despite the uncertainty that still surrounds the future of these uprisings, women in the region are increasingly aware of the obstacles ahead, and are determined more than ever to overcome these hardships and to realize their long-awaited aspirations of equal citizenship, parity, and equal opportunity. The conference featured prominent female figures from the Arab world with backgrounds ranging from social media and journalism to business, economics, religious law, sociopolitical activism, and civil society organizations. This diverse group of women represented several different countries in the region, including Palestine, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt. Each of the participants detailed challenges facing women in their respective countries and proposed policy recommendations for promoting gender equality in the region.