The international round table about citizenship, gender and democracy-building were prepared and organized by Euromed feminist initiative IFE – EFI in partnership with Citizenship League and with The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship, in 9 and 10 February 2005, in the American University of Beirut. Round Table was held within the framework of the program “Towards democratic transition through a comprehensive constitution building process”, funded by Sweden. The Euromed feminist initiative IFE – EFI together with the local partners organized a number of events within the frame of this program in order to promote and support the democratic transition and to ensure that equality, from the perspective of gender and women’s rights, is at the forefront of the transition process.
In fact, the round table about “citizenship, gender and democracy-building” contributed to broadening and deepening this work. More than 100 participants have joined this event; they represented a large number of civil society organizations, women’s rights groups, academics, researchers, legal experts and media. This event offered a collective platform for reflection and exchange of experiences, put perceptions and theories and promote solutions to common challenges to gender inequality and ongoing civil war and the control of patriarchic mentality.
The round table had 3 objectives:
• Provide a space for activists and researchers in women’s rights and human rights fields to discuss concepts and practices, and to exchange views, and to expand the concept of citizenship, in order to reach appropriate recommendations to form the basis for future work.
• Contribute to the clarification of the common obstacles against women full citizenship, and opportunities that may strengthen this in different contexts.
• Discuss ways and methodologies and strategies on the short and long term in order to ensure equality of citizenship, and provide recommendations on related policies.
Round table focused on addressing the local context, it also cited the experiences of women from the Middle East and Europe through theoretical presentations and discussions and interventions, but the main focus was on the expansion of the citizenship concept to include gender equality and democratic participation. It also handled a range of other relevant issues. The main topics handled during the discussions included:
- Shared experiences of women in exclusion from full citizenship rights and discrimination in public and private life.
- Challenges that women face against effective political participation, and the experiences of violence as a result of patriarchal domination, and the rights of refugees.
- Women experiences during armed conflict.
During the discussion, challenges were clarified and solutions were proposed. This event has provided the required space for the expansion and enhancement of solidarity, through the exchange of experiences and through national, regional and international networking.
We enclose here the full International Meeting report:
This report shows a summary of the presentations, and the main discussing points, ideas and experiences exchanged during the round table, it also presents the main conclusions and recommendations that resulted from the discussions.
We would like to thank everyone for the discussion and the ideas that contributed to achieving the aims of this meeting.
Euromed feminist initiative IFE – EFI
The Asfari Institute for Civil Society and Citizenship