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conceptual mapping >  basic human rights and societies  > Achieving gender equality in the Euro-Mediterranean region : change is possible and necessary

Euro-mediterranean human rights network (EMHRN)

Achieving gender equality in the Euro-Mediterranean region : change is possible and necessary

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In 2002 the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (EMHRN) issued a report on Integration of Women’s Rights from the Middle East and North Africa into the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. It provided a context for understanding the dynamics that hinder and promote women’s rights in the region. The current report Achieving gender equality in the Euro-Mediterranean region : change is possible and necessary revisits the key areas of discrimination against gender equality: family laws, penal and nationality laws, education and employment, political representation, gender-based violence and compliance with the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW).

It presents examples from the different countries in the region of the main advances within these fields and also the civil society campaigns to fight discriminatory practices. Based on the « lesson learned » from these experiences, the second part of the report presents recommendations on how to further the promotion of gender equality in the region in order to address the remaining challenges.

The main conclusion of the report is that change is indeed possible and necessary. It challenges the stereotyped perception of the region as permeated by conservative and static societies, built on unchangeable religious ideas and traditions - women being suppressed, uninformed, and unable to change their subdued situation. The report clearly shows that change is possible - and that women, including muslim women, do address the most sensitive issues in relation to family laws, domestic violence and reproductive rights in order to fight for gender equality using various strategies. It also shows that change is necessary because of the changing socio-economic realities that the societies are experiencing.

date of on-line publication : 14 November 2006

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