Delegations from 16 MENA countries gathered to celebrate the first year achievements of the “Active Leaders for Women’s Advancement in the Near East” coalition (ALWANE). In this two-day summit , over 130 men and women youth, government officials, activists, academics, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and civil society leaders, gathered to focus on the most pressing and vital issues related to women’s rights and status,, as well as to share real-life success stories.
Ms. Shereen Allam, ALWANE Egypt Country Officer and Director of AWTAD Egypt, talked about the change the ALWANE Egypt Committee is seeking to realize. Over the past year, ALWANE Egypt launched the “360 degrees” initiative which focuses on training, informing, and building women’s capacity in three essential areas: women’s image in the media and society, economic independence and health care.
ALWANE Egypt seeks to address harmful images and representations of women, particularly those in rural areas, as well as to raise awareness of women’s economic and social rights. The committee will benefit from the experience and knowhow of Egyptian women holding university- degrees in a number of key areas to address women’s pressing issues as well as to educate fellow Egyptian women about their social importance, and to help them find the healthy balance between their cultural, social and economic obligations . The aim is to provide women the support they need to become role models for other Egyptian women in society.
ALWANE Egypt discussed the complexity of women’s current economic challenges. Most women suffer from restrictions and limited opportunities as they are confined to certain roles and functions as a result of numerous social and cultural pressures.
In addition, media representations convey inaccurate, unrealistic, and potentially damaging images and depictions of women which could seriously harm women’s self-confidence and, as a result, her financial independence.
ALWANE Egypt sought to address this by raising awareness among women, teaching them time management skills, and empowering them with tools to allow for basic financial independence, more self-confidence, and greater awareness of their economic rights.
ALWANE Egypt also highlighted notable challenges in the health sector. Egyptian women are often uninformed in essential preventive health measures. Therefore, ALWANE Egypt sought to work on raising awareness on women’s health issues by countering prevalent myths and correcting inaccurate information.
The committee will start to do this by providing women with specified assessment tool kits that can be easily utilized to assess what specific measures needs to be taken.
To simultaneously address issues on social, economic and health levels, ALWANE Egypt introduced a 360-degree initiative in its policy recommendations which were presented at the Regional Summit.
This initiative is also described in the ALWANE 2012 Regional Policy Report, a document launched at the summit which consists of policy recommendations that address the most pressing issues facing women in all participating countries.
ALWANE Egypt’s recommendations focus on providing training courses for women in the media to shift their narrative and more accurately portray the image of Egyptian woman. The recommendations also suggest conducting more awareness campaigns for women on all levels to increase their awareness about their economic, social, and health rights in accordance with current laws.
Determined to make these recommendations a reality, ALWANE Egypt is expecting to realize great successes that will create real change through the “360 degrees of Egyptian women” initiative.
Tuesday, December 11- 2012 @ 14:22 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.