International experts on women’s rights from the Arab region and the West called on decision-makers from the Global South and the Global North to increase their efforts toward addressing barriers and challenges impeding the realization of women’s rights and gender equality. This conclusion was reached during a panel debate organized at the United Nations Office in Geneva held on 15 September on the theme of “Women’s rights in the Arab region: Between myth and reality.”
Saudi Arabia’s representative to the meeting Hoda Al-Helaissi, a member of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council and former Vice-Chairperson at King Saud University, observed that women empowerment and addressing gender inequality are “universal concerns” of the global community.
She remarked that “a country’s true development, economic growth and international success can only come about when it uses its human resources to its fullest – male and female.”
Al-Helaissi further added that the stereotyping of Arab women in the West would not advance the cause of promoting and advancing gender empowerment in the Arab region. She called upon international decision-makers to recognize “the change that takes place and supporting that change rather than merely repeating the static stereotyped image” of women in the Arab region.
The debate was held on the occasion of the 36th session to the United Nations Human Rights Council by the Geneva Center for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue — a think tank having special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social
Council (ECOSOC) – and the Permanent Mission of the Arab Republic of Egypt to UN Geneva.