PACE hearing: after the revolutions in the Arab world, what next for women’s rights?

“We must all encourage women to continue and increase their participation in democratic movements : there can be no democracy without respect for women’s rights,” said the PACE President, speaking today at the opening of a hearing on women’s contribution to the Arab Spring and the outlook for the status of women.

At this hearing, organised by PACE’s Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination and the Committee on Political Affairs and Democracy, women activists spoke about the role of women in the protest movements in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. These “agents of change”, who participated in the political and social demonstrations and revolutions in their respective countries, described their struggle to secure the respect and promotion of women’s rights, a year after the Arab Spring.

"We cannot contemplate political life without full political power sharing, from which women must on no account be excluded,” said the Moroccan Minister of Solidarity, Women, the Family and Social Development, Bassima Hakkaoui, who was taking part in the discussion. “I hope that the rewards of the Arab Spring will be reaped by Tunisian women, as citizens who have the same rights as men, and as a force for generating new ideas,” said Meherzia Labidi Maïza, First Vice-Speaker of the National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia.

The same day, parliamentarians held a plenary debate on “Equality between women and men: a condition for the success of the Arab Spring”, based on a report prepared by Fatiha Saïdi (Belgium, SOC).