Advertisement

Arab Leaders' Wives Push for Women's Rights

November 19, 2000|From Associated Press

CAIRO — Ten of the Arab world's first ladies joined activists in an unusual gathering Saturday to push for the improved status of women in their male-dominated societies.

Queen Rania of Jordan, Egypt's Suzanne Mubarak and others were using their charisma and influence to campaign in behalf of women at a three-day meeting of female leaders and campaigners for equality of the sexes.

"Development will not achieve its goals unless women participate in it as complete and effective partners in all fields," Rania, the wife of King Abdullah II, told an audience of more than 2,000 from 19 countries. She called for "legal and legislative reforms that achieve equality and justice for women."

Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and one of the conference organizers, said the delegates must find ways to respect the social differences that distinguish Arab countries while still cooperating to attain the summit's main goal: creating a better life for Arab women.

The status of women varies among countries in the Arab world. Although women in some parts of the Persian Gulf, such as conservative Saudi Arabia, are required to be covered from head to toe and are not allowed to drive, their counterparts in more liberal countries, including Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, enjoy more freedom and richer public lives.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|