Friday, December 16, 2011

Will the Arab revolutions be good for women?

What will the changes of the Arab spring mean for women? Journalist Nabila Ramdani is wary of what will happen next, but Rana Kabbani is rapturously optimistic

Interview by Emine Saner, Friday 16 December 2011

"....Emine Saner: Women have played a key part in the revolutions, yet few seem to be involved in the rebuilding. There is just one woman on Libya's National Transitional Council. Is that a disappointment?

NR: It is. Libya is a very conservative country and we've seen how the more traditional forces have taken over. They have Sharia law enshrined in the constitution, they have reinstalled polygamy.

RK: Why is it that every time western armies intervene in our region, they bring to the fore the most repressive elements in Arab societies, and the worst possible results for women? The greatest setback for gender equality has been the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq. Women have been involved in everything that has happened since the revolution in Tunisia began. The number of women coming out to vote has been tremendous, and no doubt female politicians will emerge. If Islamist parties are winning elections now, it is because they have been the ones that continued in opposition throughout the fearful Arab winter.

NR: Women have taken an equal part in the revolutions, especially in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Although I'm very optimistic about the role women can play in Tunisia, I'm more sceptical about their inclusion in the political process in Egypt, for example. My fear is that the previous gains made by Egyptian women could be reversed. The role of women in Egypt's transitional government has been very limited. There were no women included on the committee that drafted the transitional constitutional declaration, but they are determined to help shape the country's future. The political parties have to be more inclusive....."

No comments: