Gulf Daily News
By RASHA AL QAHTANI
OVERCOMING traditional practices that restrict the role of Arab women in the human development process will be discussed by experts from across the region at a two-day forum in Bahrain.
The third annual Arab Forum on Human Development will be held by Bahrain Women's Society on November 22 at the Crowne Plaza.
More than 60 participants from civil societies, ministries, and other organisations are expected to attend the event, held under the theme Empowering Women is a Human Vision.
Prominent personalities from Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt and Syria will present papers on various topics.
Society president Dr Wajeeha Al Baharna said that most women are still following old traditions where they stay at home and look after their children and husbands.
"We want to see more women come up and manage both work and home life," she said.
"This will begin through awareness by showing women their true value to be more productive in life."
Dr Al Baharna said that she believes that the change will come by studying the problems and reasons behind women's lack of involvement in the human development process.
"Women will not get all their rights and participation in all fields unless a drastic change in values and culture takes place," she said.
"The current situation is a result of the deep alienation that the community lives in."
She said that the forum aims to shed light on the importance of showing woman's value and her role in achieving welfare and development.
"The forum will also highlight the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women and the principles of Islam," she said.
"We will also list wrong hereditary culture and social ideals which discriminate against women."
During the forum, experiences of countries taking part will be reviewed in open discussions and workshops. Participants will also discuss the means to implement the forum's recommendations to be issued at the end of the event.
The annual forum was first launched by the society in 2004 as a platform to discuss the United Nations Arab Human Development Report.
The aim of the first forum was to promote the role of individuals and organisations in preparing and implementing comprehensive human development programmes.
The second forum was held by the society in 2005 to promote personal freedom and discuss the United Nations Arab Human Development Report 2004: Towards Freedom in the Arab World.
This year's forum will discuss women's empowerment and the Arab Human Development Report 2005: Towards the Rise of Women in the Arab World.
An opening ceremony will be held at the Bahrain Cultural Hall from 7pm to 9pm on November 21 and the forum will take place from 9am to 5pm the following day at the Crowne Plaza.
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