"We must stand up for our rights together despite our differences"
National Dialogue Forum in Alexandria, May 2015
From the 13th to the 15th of May 2015 PeaceWomen Across the Globe organized a National Dialogue Forum on Women’s Participation together with Egyptian and international organizations: "Empowering Egyptian Women : From recommendations to strategic implementation". For three days between 70 and 100 participants from different sections of the population and segments of society worked on a national strategy for the implementation of political equality in Egypt.
The new Egyptian Constitution is an excellent starting point for women, but now the various articles of the constitution must be activated: Why have rules and principles, if no one knows and no one obeys them? Ruth-Gaby Vermot, Co-President of PWAG, encouraged the women present to remain stubborn.
Dialogue across societal divisions
Sitting at various dialogue tables, the participants worked on the concrete implementation of recommendations. The working groups were divided into different segments of society: media, academia, government, parliamentary candidates and political parties, civil society / NGOs, youth, experts, private sector, and Muslim and Christian leaders attended the forum. At the table of civil society, for example, the participants discussed how to improve the communication and cooperation among women and equality organizations. The exchange across generational, religious and ideological gaps in this form was an absolute novelty for Egypt. The Egyptian society is strongly divided and constructive discussions or collaborations rarely happen outside of these groups. The fact that PWAG could contribute towards overcoming these gaps is in itself a success for us.
Now, these resources must be used. The idea is to gather the results of the discussions and to formulate a clear and catchy strategy in the next few months. The Egyptian organizations, including the National Council for Women, UN Women and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina will be in charge of this next step. The specific formulation and preparation should take place in close cooperation with the political ministries, so that the implementation of the strategy stands a chance. Seven ministers have already explicitly promised their support.
This report has also been published in a modified version in the journal RosaRot (Nr. 49).