Arab Women Demand More Seats at the Table

More than seventy women from twenty-one Arab countries met in Yemen in December at the first Democratic Forum for Arab Women arguing that “political empowerment of women is a necessary step towards political reform in the Arab states,” reports Reuters. Women from the Arab world are demanding no less than 20 percent representation in political decision-making bodies.

Amal Basha, the Chairwoman of the Sisters Arab Forum for Human Rights that organized the conference, asserted “Enough with marginalizing women. Enough with using the Koran to make up excuses. Enough with waiting for others to make changes. Enough with this injustice to your mothers, sisters and daughters. And enough with dealing with us as baby-makers whose place is in the home. We say to the Arab regimes that before demanding others to respect human rights, they have to first protect the human rights of their own citizens,” reports The Daily Star.

In Yemen, the number of female candidates for the parliamentary elections has decreased significantly. There is currently only one female parliamentarian and one female minister in the country. At the conference, Yemeni women demanded that President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen amend the election laws to allocate a quota of seats in parliament for women, reports Reuters.


Reuters 12/15/04; The Daily Star 12/15/04; Yemen Time 12/13/04

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