The 4th New Arab Woman Forum
The 4th New Arab Woman Forum, held on 2-3 December 2010, at the Intercontinental Phoenicia Hotel, Beirut, attracted the attendance of over 500 participants, including women civil, syndicate, media and official authorities, and a large number of business women, cultural, intellectual and artistic figures from 22 countries. This event, organized by Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group and Al Hasnaa Magazine and in cooperation with the League of Arab States was mainly distinguished by:
The official attention the forum received, which was inaugurated by the High Patronage and presence of the First Lady of Lebanon Mrs. Wafaa Michel Sleiman, and the presence of the Honorary President of the forum H.E. Mrs Bahia Hariri, In addition to the presence of Lebanese ministers, ambassadors, current and previous ministers of cabinet.
Honoring of 3 female figures who have played a central and fundamental role in their professions: H.E. Ms. Layla El Solh Hamadeh, Deputy Chairman of Walid bin Talal Foundation, H.E. Ms. Suhair El Ali, Member of House of Representatives in Jordan and Ms. Raghida Dergham, Columnist and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent at Al Hayat, New York.
Discussion of lively issues that focused on women and politics, leadership and social responsibility, Social Responsibility in Cinema, Television and Performing Arts, in addition to open discussions with three key note speakers, H.E. Ms. Rachida Dati, French member of European Parliament, Dr. Malek Chebel, Algerian author and anthropologist, and Syrian actor and director Mr. Jamal Suleiman. Two workshops also ran parallel to the panels, and focused on Governance in Family Business and Social Entrepreneurship. A book signing event was held on the second day of the forum that involved well known figures.
The organizers released a concluding statement on the main outcomes of the panels that hosted around 58 speakers, and which were lively and interactive, transparent, frank and daring.
Main conclusions include the following:
First: the new generation of women has surpassed the stage of merely announcing slogans and is now facing day to day life with a clear vision and a realistic ambition, while realizing well that the fight is not against the man, it is a fight along his side against ignorance and for the sake of advancing woman and the development of society.
Second: it is certainly a brighter picture we are looking at looking in respect to woman’s achievements, and in all fields including science, business, media culture and creativity in all its forms.
Third: woman’s presence in the political field is still very modest, and she still has a long way ahead before reaching the position which she deserves and which will enable her to contribute to the administration of the peoples affairs and have a real part in governance and authority. And here, we should not undermine the power of social restraints in curbing change.
Fourth: there’s a real desire to enable women politically in some Arab countries, while in others women are still marginalized.
Fifth: despite the varying views on the quota system, it certainly aids women, at least at present, in attaining parliamentary council positions.
Sixth: The forum emphasizes the value of new media as a tool for developing woman’s status, with all the potentials it entails, especially if proper know how of usage is attained. It is also a tool that can boost woman’s social communication and prevent her from feeling alienated and isolated.
Seventh: The private and public sectors bear the social responsibility of supporting and encouraging woman, which is at the same time a corporate and economic responsibility, where sufficient budgets should be allocated to boost woman’s status in all fields.
Eight: Art also bears a responsibility for representing woman’s issues, her status and visions, as till now it is using the female body as a marketing and seduction tool, and yet woman is also to blame for her acceptance of this portrayal.
Ninth: The forum calls on:
- Sustaining woman’s right for respect, while maintaining non-sex discrimination.
Supporting the involvement of women in politics and political parties and public affairs.
- Attaining more women solidarity in all fields, especially during elections in order to enable woman to get into the parliament, syndicates and representative councils.
- Increasing the participation of corporations and economic authorities in projects that aim at enabling woman and enhancing her role and status.
- Achieving more solidarity between Arab women media figures and woman in society, by adopting and shedding a brighter light on her cause.
- Reference authorities and establishments should work to eradicate the stereotyping of Arab women, and the commodification of her body, be it in Arab or international media. Role of man or woman in the acting domain should steer away from stereotypical roles and play a leading part in depicting social prevalent issues in general and issues pertaining to the woman in particular instead of relying on hard sell material.
AL Hasnaa, in turn is set on having these issues featured in its upcoming issues.