The 2nd New Arab Woman Forum
The Arab world today is in the midst of a major process of transformation marked by a general improvement in economic fundamentals, solid growth, very large and rising financial surpluses among the oil producers, an accelerating pace of economic reform and liberalization, and attendant gradual social change.
Arab women are increasingly at the center of this ongoing transformation and major players in it. As business leaders and executives, political and social activists, wealth holders and investors, consumers, and mothers, they are a growing force to reckon with and to take account of. In particular, wealth controlled by women in the GCC countries only was estimated at US$346 billion in 2007 and projected to rise to US$385 billion by 2011.
But the progress of Arab women in the future will be an evolutionary not a revolutionary process and the challenge will be how to consolidate the gains made by women in all aspects of life and to achieve a higher level of employment of all their capabilities.
Following up on the overwhelming success of the first New Arab Woman Forum that was held in Dubai on October 21-22, 2007 the second yearly forum will take a closer look at the evolving role and position of Arab women in the face of remaining challenges, and how these challenges are being, or can be, overcome.
For this purpose, the forum is organized under two main and meaningful headings, with the first day devoted entirely to the question of women and leadership in politics, business and society generally, and the second to the broader concept of the meaning of womanhood and feminism in the Arab world in its various attributes, activities and implications.
A number of major and sometimes sensitive questions and issues will be posed and discussed including:
* Are Arab women making their impact felt in politics and why do they seem unable to generate their own political power?
* What is the future role of Arab women in public life, business, etc?
* Which feminine model should be promoted for the Middle East?
* Do Arab women generally enjoy equal educational opportunities?
* Are norms of beauty contributing to the liberation of Arab women or reducing their self esteem?
* To what extent do Arab men still consider that a woman's achievements upset established traditional values?
The New Arab Woman Forum is organized by Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group and Al Hasnaa Magazine the leading Arab women's magazine since it was first published in 1909. As in the first forum, the 2008 forum will bring together a distinguished group of speakers and participants from both genders, but including first ladies, women ministers and public officials, business leaders, social scientists, writers and journalists, artists and actresses, heads of NGOs and other social institutions, and other personalities and activists.
Ms. Rana Kassem
Intercontinental Phoenicia Hotel