Egypt's first lady Suzanne Mubarak on Saturday opened the first summit for Arab women, which she described as a forum to protest Israel's "violations against the women and children of Palestine."
The wife of President Hosni Mubarak also alluded to social prejudices blocking the development of Arab women when she gave the summit's opening speech to Arab first ladies including Soha Arafat, wife of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
"This summit is our voice of protest against the flagrant injustice inflicted on a struggling Palestinian people, the voice of half the Arab world's population against violations committed against the women and children of Palestine," she said.
Among those attending the summit are Fatima al-Beshir, wife of Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir, and Lebanon's first lady, Andree Lahoud.
Sabika al-Khalifa, wife of Bahrain's emir Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa, and Sheikha Latifa, wife of Kuwait's Crown Prince Saad al-Abdallah al-Sabah, were also present.
Delegations from Syria and Iraq also arrived, headed by officials of women's groups in those countries.
A total of nine Arab first ladies from the Arab League's 22 member states were expected for the summit.
Participants are also due to discuss the effects of cultural heritage on the role of women in Arab society as well as ways of encouraging women to take part in political life in the Arab world -- CAIRO (AFP)
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