Dubai Debates: Women, Civil Society and Leadership in a New Arab World

Sunday December 18, 2011

6:30 PM


Dubai Knowledge Village Auditorium

BC 1, Block 9, Ground Floor 
BC 2, Block 18, 3rd floor 
P.O. Box 73000 
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

(map this location)




On December 18, Vital Voices will partner with Dubai Debates, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and CNN International to present the fourth discussion in a series of debates: Women, Civil Society and Leadership in the New Arab World.


"The Arab world is going through a historic period of change. Across the region, citizens are demanding reforms, transparent governance, and a say in their destinies. At the forefront of change in many Arab countries have been women, who are demonstrating in large numbers alongside their male compatriots for a better future. But is that really the case? What was the actual extent of women's involvement in the Arab Spring?

Many are now demanding that women be granted more political rights in the emerging new Arab order. But despite the optimism, politics remains a largely male dominated industry across the region. Not a single Arab country has ever had a female head of state and there are very few women ministers or members of parliament. How can this change in the future? Should Arab nations consider quotas for women in politics?

Similarly, there is a striking lack of women in business and leadership positions. Aside from some notable exceptions, such as within the United Arab Emirates, Arab women play a marginal role in entrepreneurship and business in Arab countries. Will political developments in the region be reflected in economic life on the ground, so that Arab women will one day enjoy equal opportunities in economic life?

All this begs a broader question: Is there a universal notion of equality between women and men? Can Western models of gender equality and women's rights be applied to the Arab world? Or do they need to be adapted to take into consideration the region's traditions?

Finally, how much will depend on the legal foundations that the fledging democracies in the region will adopt? Should women's rights be constitutionally guaranteed and if so, what does that entail exactly? Will legal changes be a catalyst for social change?"


We look forward to discussing these questions further and hope you can join in! Contribute to the debate by uploading a video question or comment on the Dubai Debates website


This debate will be presented in full collaboration with:


Mar 11