The international roundtable "Citizenship, Gender and Democracy Building" was organized by Euromed Feminist Initiative IFE-EFI and Syrian League for Citizenship in partnership with the Asfari Institute for Civil Society on the 9-10th of February 2015 at the American University of Beirut. The roundtable took place in the framework of the program “Towards a democratic transition in Syria by supporting an inclusive constitution process”, funded by Sweden.
The three organizers of the round table have agreed to hold an event on citizenship and to invite a number of experts from around the world in order to achieve the following main objectives:
- provision of a meeting space for activists championing human rights and women’s rights in particular and researchers working in the fields of citizenship in order to facilitate the exchange of views and experiences in an effort to devise suitable conclusions that serve as a base for future work;
- exchange of views and experiences relating to major difficulties in the process of citizenship building, especially infringements of gender equality and the continuing exclusion of women from public participation on account of their presumed inferiority;
- identification and development of relevant concepts and strategies to be adopted in the short and long term in order to achieve sustainable citizenship equality;
- draft of recommendations to be presented at influential and effective forums in order to consolidate the principles of citizenship, especially those relating to gender equality.
The results of the roundtable have definitely gone beyond its initial goals insofar as all the themes approached and discussed at the event are still at the heart of major political debates. The picture of women’s citizenship that this volume presents is by no means exhaustive but nevertheless highlights a number of significant issues. The texts included in the volume clearly show that numerous attempts at the improvement of women’s chances for full citizenship and public participation are, to put it mildly, not supported but are rather either ignored or even thwarted, and that a long and difficult road still lies ahead of us. There are even more difficulties now as we are living in a time when so many factors are interplaying to prevent any kind of social progress, especially when it comes to equality between women and men. To face this regression, women are organizing, and this book is a beautiful illustration of their resistance