Voices from the Arab States at the Tunis Forum on Gender Equality

Date: Monday, May 6, 2019

The Tunis Forum on Gender Equality brought together over 500 participants representing 70 countries from around the world.

Organized in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA), and one year before the 20th anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the Forum discussed the progress made in the implementation of the visionary Beijing Declaration, as well as issues surrounding women’s leadership in local governance, the women, peace and security agenda, and the linkages between innovation, technology and gender equality.

During 3 days of engaging and dynamic discussion, participants had the opportunity to make their voices heard and exchange their impressions and experience on how to make gender equality a reality for all, everywhere.

While the forum had a global scope, the Arab States region was widely represented by women activists, youth, gender equality champions, government officials, parliamentarians and media.

Here are some of the voices of Arab States participants heard at the event:

Youssef Chahed

Prime Minister

Neziha Labidi

Minister of Women, Family, Childhood and Elders

Khaled Mahdi

General Secretariat of the Supreme Council for Planning and Development
State of Kuwait

We need to bring more attention to the importance of data, technology and innovation. The world today revolves around technology, artificial intelligence and algorithms. As women, we need to be part of the conversation and look at these technological developments as tools, but also as weapons to defend and promote gender equality.”

Wafaa Albadry


“This event is very important for us, as we’re trying to achieve the SDGs, particularly SDG5, on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. Achieving these targets is a matter of rights. We cannot forget that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.”

Manal Al Taleb

Programme Coordinator, Women’s Political Participation
Arab Women Organization

Dhafer L’Abidine

Celebrity, Gender Equality Advocate

“The 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action is important for young people because we are the future. It provides us with a strategy to continue our fight. It reaffirms that the fight is not over, and it is still attainable.”

Hana Faidi


Sarah El Outa


Rural women are not benefitting from social or legal protection against exploitation and it is time we protect them from these dangers. The economic participation of rural women is essential for growth and a more equitable distribution of wealth.” 

Maher Khalifi

Social Entrepreneur

“As a young feminist I’m glad to be here at the Forum. We, women, just want to enjoy our rights. Our abilities shouldn’t be undermined. We can do many things. Women are not just good to be in the kitchen or having babies. We can change the world.”

Nada Benbrahim


Aïcha Ayari


“We are trying to improve the status of women here in Tunisia. Gender equality is the base. We are equal to men and we are entitled to equal rights. I work on statistics and I think data is key for gender equality because it allow us to point out the gaps.”

Farah Mnekbi

International Cooperation Officer
Center of Research, Studies, Documentation and Information on Women
Ministry for Women, Family Affairs and Children