Arab Women Organization
The Arab Women Organization is an intergovernmental organization established under the umbrella of the League of Arab States and headquartered in Egypt . It emerged from the Cairo Declaration issued by the First Arab Women Summit which convened in Cairo in November 2000 in response to a call by H.E. Mrs. Suzanne Mubarak, Egypt’s First Lady and which was co-organized by the National Council for Women in Egypt, Hariri Foundation in Lebanon and the League of Arab States. The agreement came into effect in March 2003.
The Executive Council of AWO includes Arab First Ladies or their representatives. Its presidency rotates biennially according to the alphabetical order in force at the League of Arab States.
- Empowering Arab women and building their capacities to promote progress of Arab societies;
- Raising awareness of the necessity of engaging women as equal partners in societal development; and
- Coordinating Arab efforts in order to foster women empowerment and elevate awareness of their vital role in society.
The AWO has several objectives:
- Achieving solidarity of Arab women as a cornerstone for Arab solidarity.
- Coordinating common Arab stands regarding Arab, as well as, international affairs and when dealing with Arab women issues in regional and international organizations.
- Raising awareness regarding economic, social, cultural and legal issues pertaining to Arab women.
- Fostering cooperation and exchange of experience between member Arab states to enhance the status of women.
- According women issues priority in developmental policies and plans.
- Empowering women and building their capacities as human beings and citizens to play an effective role in societal institutions, in the labor market, and in decision making circles.
- Enhancing essential health and education services for women.
The AWO plans to achieve these objectives by:
- Collecting and disseminating data regarding the status of Arab women.
- Coordinating local and national efforts pertaining to women issues
- Following relevant developments in international organizations
- Setting model programs to alleviate Arab women in all fields.
- Networking and cooperating with relevant governmental and non-governmental, organizations
- Organizing seminars and workshops to coordinate joint Arab action regarding women issues.
- Conducting research on Arab women issues and their role in society.
The AWO policies are based on the Strategy for the Enhancement of Arab Women, as well as, on the recommendations of the forums organized under the framework of the first and second Arab Women Summits.
The AWO sets its priority to promote the empowerment of women in the following areas:
- Education: especially eradication of female illiteracy
- Health and Environment: especially strengthening healthcare and promoting women awareness of environmental hazards.
- Media: especially changing the negative image of Arab women.
- Social development: especially promoting gender awareness in strategic and action planning.
- Economy: especially poverty alleviation for women.
- Politics: especially enhancing women political participation.
- Legal Sphere: especially amending laws discriminating against women or preventing them from undertaking an active role in society.