Democracy for Women: The Promise and the Risk of Arab Political Change
Institute for Public Knowledge (20 Cooper Square, 5th Fl., Manhattan)
Free, photo id required
Dr. Nouzha Guessous (Key political actor in the creation of Morocco’s progressive 2004 Family Code or Moudawana, Casablanca University honorary professor, feminist, human rights activist)
Dr. Nadia Guessous (assistant professor of anthropology and gender studies at the Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at New York University)
Dr. Helga Tawil-Souri (assistant professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University)
Chair: Nina zu Fürstenberg, president Reset-Dialogues on Civilizations
The last several months have brought radical transformations to political structures in states across North Africa and the Middle East. Many of these changes are moves toward democracy—either in the communications infrastructures created by access to new mediated forms or in recalibrations of political processes—but all these changes represent risks and opportunities to women in particular. In some instances, such as in Egypt, shifting political power is leading to proposals to restrict certain enumerated rights of women. In others, such as Morocco, transformations seem to be opening up new space for women in the public sphere, although not without drawbacks. This discussion will address the promise and the problems presented by new democratic forms in the region.