ERF Conference to Explore Women’s Empowerment in the Arab World

The Economic Research Forum (ERF) will hold a conference on women’s social and economic empowerment in the Arab World on October 24-25, 2015, in Cairo, Egypt. The event, hosted in cooperation with Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is intended to contribute to ending the significant political and economic disadvantages women in the region face.

Over six sessions and a panel discussion, key international experts, regional academics, policy leaders and the media will discuss and debate ways to overcome the main obstacles preventing the full participation of women in the region. Topics include ways to narrow down the gender gap and discrimination against women; women’s empowerment within the household and in the labor market; women entrepreneurship; gender and social protection policies, and stereotypes surrounding the relationship between gender, religion and politics.

From the policy leaders’ side, the conference will feature Egyptian Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Waly, former Egyptian Minister of Family and Population Moushira Khattab, and former Egyptian Parliamentarian Mona Makram-Ebeid.

International experts who will speak at the conference include Arjan De Haan (International Development Research Center), Maria Floro (American University), Stephanie Seguino (University of Vermont), and Caren Grown (World Bank). From the region, the conference is set to host Insan Tunali (Koç University), Hania Sholkami (American University in Cairo), and Amel Grami (University of Tunis), among others.

“There is no doubt that women in the Arab World have achieved some gains over the past few decades in many social spheres,” commented Ahmed Galal, ERF managing director and a former Egyptian minister of finance. “Still, while the marginalization of women in political and economic participation remains a global challenge, the gap is markedly high in the Arab World. In the end, no country can expect to achieve economic development without the full participation of half its population”

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