Legal and Practical Aspects of Participation by Women in Arab Societies
American Journal of Islam and Society
Many Arab and Muslim countries have a long history of women's activism.Depending on location and historical moment, women activists have drawninspiration from a wide array of sources, including both religious and seculardiscourses. In all cases, however, one main issue is how legal systemsand processes of legal reform on the one hand, and social relations andeveryday life on the other hand, relate to each other.At this conference, held in The Hague, The Netherlands, on March 4-5, 2004, the
... 4-5, 2004, the tensions between legal systems and social life were discussed.The conference was organized by the Arabic Dutch Women Circle (ANVK)in cooperation with the municipality of The Hague and the InternationalDialogues Foundation (IDF). The ANVK is a Dutch non-profit organizationdedicated to promoting cultural exchange between Dutch and Arabsocieties, and, in particular, between Dutch and Arab women. The ANVKorganizes conferences, meetings, debates, and exhibitions to stimulate dialogueand exchange.Among other things, the conference sought to clarify that class, ethnicity,political system, history, and cultural factors are of wider influence thanjust law or religious factors themselves. The constitutions of almost allArab and Muslim countries proclaim equal rights for all, regardless of race,sex, language, and religion. However, the implementation of these rights isoften a problem. By inviting a group of women activists and academicsfrom the Middle East, as well as representatives of various sectors of Dutchsociety and of the Arab and Muslim communities in The Netherlands, theconference also aimed at stimulating discussion about Arab women's rightsand practices.The conference was chaired by Professor Annelies Moors, chair of theInternational Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World (ISIM)at the University of Amsterdam. The first day was open to the general publicand consisted of a plenary session in which four papers were presented, ...