Education International
Education International

Second EI Arab Women's Network meeting

published 4 July 2013 updated 5 July 2013

EI held the second meeting of its Arab Women Network (AWN) from 29-30 June in Beirut, Lebanon. This meeting aimed at following up on the discussions that started at last’s year inaugural meeting, where the AWN will build on the information shared and plan for future steps.

This meeting gathered 35 participants from 10 Arab countries (Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen and Palestine), 4 observers (from NUT/UK, NASUWT/UK and UEN/Norway), and 5 EI representatives.

Promoting women’s involvement in trade unions

EI Deputy General Secretary, Haldis Holst, opened the AWN meeting, stressing the importance of women networks in the work of EI in all regions concerning women’s empowerment and leadership. On the first day, participants were briefed about the following EI upcoming events: EI World Women’s Conference, to be held in April 2014, and the EI 7th World Congress, to be held in July 2015.

EI Regional Coordinator for Arab countries Huda Khoury then reported on the Arab Women Network, hoping that the new network will help in a fundamental way to promoting women’s empowerment and leadership.

Participants also engaged in a discussion session on women in education unions where quotas are applied.

Three sessions were held the next day: a training session on organising (mainly organising women); a training on communication skills with members and with the leadership; and a session about ways for the EI’s Arab Women Network support the initiatives of organising women teachers?

Solidarity with Bahraini and Egyptian colleagues

They further issued a solidarity statement condemning the harassment of leaders of the Bahrain Teachers' Association (BTA), Jalila Al-Salman and Mahdi Abu Deeb: “We declare our support to the BTA, and its President Mahdi Abu Dheeb, who is still unjustly detained since 2011 for no specific crime but simply defending the Bahraini teachers, as well as Jalila Al-Salman, the acting President of BTA who’s standing on trial with her Bahraini colleagues.”

Also denouncing what is happening to trade unionists in Egypt after the “Freedom and Dignity” revolution, and the continued harassment against unions and unionists, the statement adds: “We call to guarantee the freedom and dignity of women in general, and particularly of women teachers, and to explicitly state these rights in the new constitution”.