The President of the Anna Lindh Foundation, Mrs Elisabeth Guigou, represented the Anna Lindh Foundation at the 4th Ministerial Conference on strengthening the role of women in Euro-Mediterranean society, held in Egypt on 27 November 2017 under the Co-Presidency of Mariya Gabriel Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, European Union and H.E. Hala Latouf Minister for Social Development of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, in the presence of the UfM Secretary-General H.E. Fathallah Sijilmassi, and hosted by H.E. Dr Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, Arab Republic of Egypt.
The Ministers acknowledge that despite some positive developments regarding women’s participation in social, economic and political decision-making, obstacles still exist. They recognise the need to strengthen through qualitative and quantitative measures women’s participation in public life and to foster their role as leaders and promoting women's agency towards change within the Euro-Mediterranean region.
With the final adopted declaration, the Ministers called for strengthening regional co-operation and welcoming an inclusive and pragmatic methodology of work and to promote an Action Plan, taking into account the importance of education and vocational trainings as cross-cutting issues, around 4 main actions: Raising Women’s Participation in Public Life and Decision-Making; Raising Women's Economic Participation; Combating all Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls; Challenging cultural and social norms and eliminate gender stereotypes, particularly in and through education and media.
President Guigou emphasised that ‘’true parity between men and women is crucial for economic and social development, for peace, for social and cultural harmony and for the fight against radicalization’’. She said that ‘’It is necessary that women but also men make advance in this awareness’’; however, ‘’Awareness is the first step towards change but this must be accompanied by action’’.
She also stressed despite progress has been made in the political and economic sphere, ‘’much remains to be done to obtain satisfactory results in two other domains: that of the change in cultural stereotypes; that of violence against women and sexual harassment’’.
President Guigou explained that the Anna Lindh Foundation has developed numerous cooperation initiatives in the Euro-Mediterranean region and plans to invest even more in the future. She shared some of the results of the last edition of the Anna Lindh Report on Intercultural Trends in the Euro-Mediterranean region from which emerges a convergence of aspirations and values between the populations of the southern and northern Mediterranean as well as the vision of the role of women in society. More than 50% of people want to see an increased role for women in the political, economic and social sectors. Among the populations of the southern Mediterranean the percentage of those who push for an increased role of women in social and cultural life is even higher and reaches 65%.
With this work the Foundation can contribute to the establishment of a regional indicator to measure the progress and position of women in societies and identify the most appropriate measures for the promotion of gender parity to be carried out by the government, civil society, international organizations.
President Guigou also explained that the Anna Lindh Foundation's programmes target young men and women in the region, and a particular example is given by the flag-ship programme ‘Young Mediterranean Voices’. She has stressed that another asset of the Anna Lindh Foundation is its civil society organization network, which has more than 5,000 organizations, many of whom are engaged in promoting gender parity and has shared a brief overview of the type of projects implemented by these civil society organisations and supported by the Anna Lindh Foundation.
For more information details please find the full speech of President Elisabeth Guigou.