Over 2,000 women’s rights activists from around the world gathered in Istanbul, Turkey last week for the 2012 Association for Women’s Rights in Development – AWID Forum. From April 18-22, the AWID Forum brought delegates form various grassroots, national, regional, and international organizations together to strategize, network, and learn skills in the effort to advance women’s rights. This year’s Forum was titled “Transforming Economic Power to Advance Women’s Rights and Justice” to focus on the overlap of economic power and women’s rights:
“Economic power impacts on and intersects with all women’s rights issues and agendas – from reproductive and sexual rights to violence against women, education, political participation and health. Without economic systems that take account of women’s needs and realities and value their contributions, rights and justice are not possible.” – AWID 2012 Forum.
One of the areas of focus during the Forum was the Arab Spring and what it means for women's rights in the region. At the opening of the Forum Lydia Alpízar Durán, executive director for AWID said that one of the reasons AWID chose Istanbul as the 2012 location was creating solidarity with women's movements in the MENA region. During the forum, activists from Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Morocco, Libya, and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) spoke about their ongoing battles to enshrine women’s rights into new constitutions and increase female participation in new political systems – while often facing renewed challenges to their personal freedoms.
Durán also said:
"In the post-Arab-Spring phase, we need to be clear that what happens in this region has major implications for women around the world. Cultural relativism is growing and we cannot allow respect for cultural traditions to justify the violation of women’s rights."
For more information about the 2012 AWID Forum click here: http://www.awid.org/