MENAFN - Arab News
The feminization of Algerian politics led by women's organizations
(MENAFN - Arab News) Algerian women will forever remember the May 10 Algerian legislative elections as a turning point.
That day, 147 women, out of 462 candidates, were elected to the National People's Congress (NPC) - a positive step towards achieving gender equality. In 2007, in contrast, female members of parliament (MPs) won only 8 percent of the total seats.
Why was there such a leap forward? It was partly due to Law 31, which was added to the constitution in November 2008. It required women to comprise 20 percent of political parties' candidate lists " and would penalize parties by removing them from the ballot if they fail to comply.
Yet even though politically active women are optimistic in light of these developments, some activists remain skeptical.
Algerian lawyer Fatma-Zohra Benbraham criticized the new law on women's representation as a "legislative trap," given "that the legislation referred to the representation of women on the candidate lists and not within the NPC [itself]," as she told the Algerian newspaper Le Temps D'Algerie.
Concurring with Benbraham, Yasmina Taya, president of the Algerian National Association of Women Entrepreneurs, noted that Algerian women are still marginalized in spite of all the key government positions they now hold.
But it is still worth noting that women's extraordinary ascent to the NPC occurred in a country that did little to encourage women to participate in politics just a few years ago.
Women's organizations' growing visibility and efforts have, over time, contributed to growing support for the idea that Algerian women should play a more public role in their society.
One example of such an organization is Amusnaw, which advocates on a daily basis for equality between men and women. This year, it began a project to develop a marriage contract that would help women set up conditions for their marriage before their weddings, such as the right to work or continue their studies. The organization is now trying to get the state to use it as a standard marriage contract.
Such efforts are increasing public support for women's rights, and giving women's issues greater visibility.
These 147 female candidates are now in elected positions because of women's rights groups' efforts, and these candidates are indebted to such groups. The female MPs should therefore support bills that promote Algerian women's political, economic and social development. Their agenda should focus on combating violence against women, improving their access to high-level positions, and ensuring gender equality, especially through revising the family law. These steps will ensure that Algerian women's needs are dealt with effectively.
Today, many key players from organizations that defend women's rights are supporting these newly elected deputies. For instance, Nassera Merah, a sociologist and feminist activist, designed a training program for women in politics, including local and national government officials, activists and organizational leaders. The program's objective is to give female politicians the necessary tools to support a party's agenda or propose new laws in the assembly. Female civil society activists should continue to make their expertise available to the new members of parliament so that these new MPs can take advantage of it.
Men also have a role to play in improving women's representation in the public sphere. According to Nadjia Zeghouda, a trade unionist and human rights activist, this "feminization" of the NPC will hopefully push men to evaluate their positions on women's issues. Indeed, men working alongside so many female MPs could improve the way that men view women's issues, and help them take laws pertaining to women more seriously.
Hopefully, these elected women will present other women's concerns in a way that is original and relevant " and get their male colleagues to notice those concerns.
Ultimately, it is impossible to talk about movements supporting democracy and human rights without including women in these conversations. Any successful movement towards these goals requires women's participation.
The beginning of gender parity in Algeria's NPC is a positive step, heralding a real shift towards democracy and progress " for all Algerians, male and female.
N. Hafid writes for the Common Ground News Service (CGNews).
MENA News Headlines
|Mar 9 2014||Libya separatists load NKorea oil ship and ignore warning ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Libyan separatists loaded oil onto a North Korean tanker for a second consecutive day on Sunday, ignoring the central government's threats of military action, an industry official ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's Al Hamra launches USD272 m project ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE's Al Hamra Real Estate Development has announced the opening of the USD 272 million Falcon Island project in Ras Al Khaimah, according to Khaleej Times.
The new project aims to ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Oman aims to increase non-oil exports by 15 percent ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Oman is aiming to increase the value of its non-oil exports by 15 percent this year, Times of Oman reported.
The Director of Export Development at Ithraa said that Oman's exports of ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Oman's government revenue drops 7.9 percent ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Oman's National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) said that the country's government revenues dropped 7.9 percent in January, Times of Oman reported.
The NCSI said that ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Oman's foreign trade up 9.1 percent ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Statistics released by the Omani National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) show an increase in the Sultanate's foreign trade, Times of Oman reported.
The data show that the ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Dubai-based Deyaar plans USD245m residential, hotel project ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE-based Deyaar Development announced its plan to build a residential and hotel project in Dubai, Arabian Business reported.
The project, at a total cost of USD245 million, will consist ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's Jumbo plans expansion ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE-based retail electronics giant Jumbo Group announced that it plans to expand its engineering and B2B businesses as well as its retail footprint in the GCC, India and Iran, Arabian ...|
|Mar 9 2014||New fashion company plans IPO in Dubai ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) A retailing company still being formed is planning for its first initial public offering (IPO) on Dubai's main stock market in five years, Arabian Business reported.
The company will ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's du signs agreement with international telecom companies ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) du, the Middle East"s fastest growing telecom service provider, has joined an international consortium that includes several telecom companies to build South East Asia - Middle East -Western ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's RTA wins USD27 m contract ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE's Board of Directors of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has won a contract to construct and collector internal roads at Al Barsha South 1 and Al Barsha South 2, according to the ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Dubai's Emirates to sign off USD76 b deal with Boeing ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Dubai"s Emirates said it will cancel its USD76 billion purchase of Boeing 777X wide-body planes for reasons, such as performance guarantees, according to Arabian Business.
The order ...|
|Mar 9 2014||La Liga Preview: Real Madrid v Levante ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Carlo Ancelotti's side rescued a 3-2 win at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia in October with stoppage-time goals from Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo.
They will enter this weekend's ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Steyn, Johnson absent for T20 series ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Mitchell Johnson has been rested for the three-match series, returning to Australia ahead of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
Dale Steyn battled through South Africa's third Test ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Lee, Son progress to Birmingham last four ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Malaysia's Lee thrashed Japan's Kento Momota 21-14 21-18 in their quarter-finals at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
He will face Son Wan Ho in the last four after the ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Copa Libertadores Preview: Atletico Mineiro, Velez Sarsfield near progression ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Both teams have claimed two wins from as many games in their groups and a third € halfway through the stage € would set them up nicely.
Mineiro have edged their way to the top of ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Davids: Del Piero should delay coaching plans ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora)
The Sydney FC star, 39, is nearing the end of his career and is yet to re-sign with the A-League club, having been linked with another move to Asia.
Davids, who played alongside ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Blanc confirms Cavani will miss Bastia trip ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora)Cavani returned to Uruguay earlier in the week for personal reasons and will not be back in time for Saturday's match.
The 27-year-old has scored 14 goals in 22 league appearances ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Barca are not in decline, Xavi insists ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Barca secured three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey medals and twice won the UEFA Champions League under the stewardship of former coach Pep Guardiola,
Tito Vilanova carried on ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's Majid Al Futtaim sign agreement with HCT ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE-based retail giant Majid Al Futtaim and Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) have signed an agreement to launch a retail academy and industry consortium, according to Arabian ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Northampton book Anglo-Welsh Cup final spot ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) George Pisi was the star of the show for the 2010 winners at Franklin's Gardens as he completed a hat-trick in the second half to complete a comfortable victory.
Saracens struggled ...|