The status of women in the Arab Spring is to be discussed at the latest session of The Doha Debates, following concerns that political Islam might impose new restrictions on them.
In Egypt, women have lost around 50 seats in the new parliament and a recent survey of parties by Amnesty International showed only lukewarm support for gender equality.
Doha Debates’ chairman, Tim Sebastian, said the treatment of women in the post- revolution states was an important indicator. "It says much about what kind of democracy will emerge from the political turmoil, “he added.
The motion: “This house believes women will be worse off after the Arab revolutions” will be debated at Doha’s Georgetown University auditorium, Qatar Foundation, at 7.30 pm on 27 February.
Speaking for the motion is Khadija Arfaoui, Tunisian feminist researcher, women's rights advocate and former university professor. Joining her is Iman Bibars, Vice-President, Ashoka Arab World, and Chairperson of the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women, Egypt's first microfinance organization.
Opposing them are Libyan academic Amal Jerary and Egypt's Rabab el-Mehdi, political science professor at the American University of Cairo and co-founder of a number of Egyptian opposition groups, including Women for Democracy.
The award-winning Doha Debates, now in their eighth year, are a free-speech forum dedicated to offering young Arabs the opportunity to discuss major questions that affect their lives. The series has been broadcast on BBC World News since January 2005, reaching nearly 400 million people in more than 200 countries.
The debates are hosted and financed by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.