Morocco hosts one of the largest gatherings of Arab women parliamentarians for a gender-balanced policy agenda

Women parliamentarians from the Arab States region unite to make a difference for sustainable development. While the Arab States region is at a crucial point of transition in history, gender equality and inclusion must be on the top of the region’s priorities.

Date: 17 March 2016

Opening of Arab Women Parliamentarians "Ra'edat" Forum. Photo: UN Women/Kimja Vanderheyden
Opening of Arab Women Parliamentarians "Ra'edat" Forum. Photo: UN Women/Kimja Vanderheyden

Over 150 women parliamentarians and international organizations representatives from twenty countries gather in a regional forum in Rabat, Morocco on 9 and 10 February 2016 to discuss a unified agenda towards a more gender-responsive policy in the region and the inclusion of women in politics. The Forum is organized by the Arab Women Parliamentarians Network for Equality, “Ra’edat” (Arabic for pioneers), the European Union and UN Women, in the framework of the Spring Forward for Women programme.

With participants from parliaments, government, civil society, media and international organizations including the European Union, the Arab Parliament, UN organizations, the Forum is embedded in a global setting and support system. At this point of the region’s history, women have a real opportunity to push for equal representation in politics. Recently, women penetrated Saudi Arabia’s political scene with 17 women winning the municipal elections after Saudi women were allowed to vote and run for the first time in Saudi history. Across the region, women have varied access to politics. While Tunisia and Algeria have already achieved a 30 per cent representation of women in parliament, other countries still lag behind with a participation rate as low as 2 per cent for women.

“Advocating women’s right to equal representation in the decision making process is not only our duty towards women, it is our duty to our countries because women’s participation makes a difference and enhances the quality of policy making," says Rula Alhroob, member of the Jordanian House of Representatives and President of “Ra’edat” Network.

To read the full story visit UN Women's regional website for the Arab States and North Africa: http://arabstates.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2016/2/raedat