Six Years after the First Arab Women Summit: Achievements and Challenges

11/13/2006 to 11/15/2006

Manama - Kingdom of Bahrain

Under the auspices of Her Highness Shaikha Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa (2005 - 2007)

The strategy document for the advancement of Arab women and the eight forums organized within the context of the Arab Women summit set forth a number of recommendations for the advancement of Arab women. Arab states have adopted a number of programs and projects in response to these recommendations.

Importance of the conference:

There is an urgent need to identify actions taken by each Arab State separately in order to implement the aforementioned recommendations. There is also a need to identify the programs/projects adopted by each State in this regard to recognize the success achieved in implementation of the recommendations and the factors that contributed to this success. Finally, to identify recommendations that have not been activated and why, and projects that failed in implementing the recommendations and reasons for failure.

Conference Objectives

Conference Themes

Chairman / President of the Conference Word:

Highness First Ladies Words

Rest of Opening Words

First Session: Arab Women and the Crucial Moments of Change

Session II: Women in Decision-Making Positions

Session III: Activating the Role of Women in the National Economy Trails

Session IV: Women and Peace-Building

Fifth Session: Women in the Face of Violence and Terrorism

Women Summit: Achievements and Challenges under the Auspices of Her Highness Sheikha Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa

(Kingdom of Bahrain, November 13-15, 2006)
In the context of reviewing and evaluating the Arab work for the advancement of women, the First AWO Conference was held from November 13-15, 2006 in the Kingdom of Bahrain under the auspices of Her Highness Sheikha Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, Wife of His Majesty King of Bahrain, and President of the AWO in the current cycle. Participants included the First Ladies from the United Arab Emirates, the Republic of Sudan, the Arab Republic of Syria, the Republic of Lebanon, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, as well as official delegations from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Republic of Tunisia, the Democratic Popular  Republic of Algeria, the Sultanate of Oman, State of Palestine , the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Yemen, and the League of Arab States. Further, the following non-member States also participated: the United Republic of the Comoros, the Iraqi Republic, the State of Kuwait, and representatives from a number of local, regional, international, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and a select group of Arab experts and Youth.
Her Highness Sheikha Sabeeka Bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa launched "The Arab Women Electronic Library" with the objective of enhancing communication between Arab researchers through providing scientific literature on women's affairs on the Internet.
Her Highness also launched the "Arab youth Strategy to support the role of Arab Women in building Society".  This strategy represents the basis for a lasting partnership between youth and the AWO, by implementing their proposals respectively as part of its programs.   Appreciating the importance of honoring distinguished role models of Arab women in various areas of public affairs, the President of the AWO, in the current cycle, presented them with the Medal of Bahrain. She also honored the Chairwomen of the Executive Council and the Director General of the AWO for their efforts in implementing the AWO's programs.
This conference has been a stance for the review and evaluation of the key achievements made by different States on women issues over a period of six years, a period which is considered a breakthrough in the joint Arab action on women since the First Arab Women Summit in November 2000. During the eight workshops of the conference, a number of reports were discussed on the achievements of Arab States during the previous period in response to the recommendations of the eight intellectual forums held within the framework of the Arab Women Summit I and II. Experts and concerned officials in their respective fields discussed the regional follow-up reports in order to be cognizant of all the achievements and challenges. Participants in the conference assessed the achievements of Arab States on several levels. They concluded that a number of challenges still stand as obstacles to the implementation of several recommendations of the intellectual forums. Based on discussions held at the workshops, the conference provided the following recommendations:
First: General Recommendations:
  1. Encourage Arab States to adopt the "Arab Youth Strategy to support the Role of Women in Building Society".
  2. Urge Arab States to establish partnerships between governments and civil society to plan and implement women-related policies.
  3. The AWO is to organize, in cooperation and coordination with international and regional organizations, programs to empower Arab women, including the development of statistics and indicators to measure the advancement of women in all fields.
Second: Women and Law:
  1. Monitor and follow up on the development of Arab legislation related to women's rights through the AWO Legal Group.
  2. Invite States to develop mechanisms to bridge the gap between legal text and its application in reality.
  3. Urge Arab States to amend national legislations, to abolish any discrimination against women and to create harmony between legislations and provisions of the Constitutions and international and regional conventions which the States joined.
Third: Women and Politics:
  1. Arab States should develop and activate mechanisms to provide women access to decision making positions.
  2. Urge  Arab States to undertake a scientific and objective assessment of programs to develop women's capacities in the political field, and to benefit from evaluations to support future plans and programs.
Fourth: Women and the Media:
Develop an Arab media strategy to strengthen the role of women in sustainable development.
Fifth: Women and Education:
  1. Ensure harmonization between the output of education and the needs of development and the labor market.
  2. Emphasize the quality of education and include knowledge in psychology and skills of life in curricula to support networking capabilities and leadership.
Sixth: Women and Economy:
  1. Arab States should take all necessary actions to strengthen the role of women in economic development and in meeting the challenges of economic globalization.
  2. Provide support services to women to help them reconcile their family responsibilities with their role in economic development.
Seventh: Women and Armed Conflicts:
  1. Take the necessary actions to organize a campaign to release Palestinian prisoners and children from Israeli jails.
  2. Develop programs and plans to protect Arab victims under occupation and in armed conflicts, and to focus on empowering women to deal with such situations.


Eighth: Arab Women in Immigrant Countries:
  1. Call on the League of Arab States to activate the network of immigrants and to develop mechanisms to work with women in immigrant countries.
  2. Develop the Arab media discourse and emphasize highlighting women issues in the Arab immigrant conferences and dialogues.
  3. Create a network of Arab women in immigrant countries as part of AWO mechanisms. 


Ninth: Arab Women and Science and Technology:
  1. Provide disaggregated gender-based data in the field of science and technology and the completion of the project on the use of information technology to identify indicators to measure and compare the situation of Arab women in all fields.
  2. Appeal to governments to establish national committees specifically for the advancement of women in the field of science and technology.
  3. Finally, the AWO believes in the importance of cummulative work and in following up on the implementation of the recommendations of the women's forums. Accordingly, participants decided to build on what has been achieved and to develop adequate mechanisms to ensure completion of the recommendations where obstacles had impeded their implementation, within the framework of the reports that emanated from the workshops. They also decided to consider the recommendations of the workshops as checklists in the preparation of AWO programs.

Manama, November 15, 2006.  

Keynote Speakers: