Panel Discussion Recap

"Arab Women: Asserting their Rights, Deciding their Future"

Washington, DC | www.adc.org | November 3, 2011 – This week, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) welcomed guests to the ADC Heritage Center for the second event of the 2011-2012 Arabesque Lecture Series, a panel discussion entitled, “Arab Women: Asserting their Rights, Deciding their Future.” Moderated by ADC Legal Fellow Alyaa El-Abbadi, the panel included: Dr. Fida Adely - Assistant Professor and holder of the Clovis and Hala Maksoud Chair in Arab Studies at Georgetown University; Dr. Alma Abdul-Hadi Jadallah - President and Managing Director of Kommon Denominator, Inc. and Advisory Board Member of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University; and Ms. Dina Guirguis – an attorney, activist on Egyptian democracy, member of the Egyptian American Rule of Law Association (EARLA), and the former Executive Director of Voices for a Democratic Egypt. Members of the community enjoyed a thoughtful and enlightening series of presentations by the panelists, who each shared her own perspective in contemplating the dynamic between Arab women activism and the current social and political backdrop of the Arab World. 

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Dr. Fida Adely began her presentation by noting that, historically, women in the Arab World have been involved politically, including taking on leadership roles. She suggested that women in the region are often more prominent in their societies than is conveyed by the popular culture in the West. For example, Dr. Adely recounted, despite women appearing in U.S. media footage showing the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt this year, commentators would often ask, “where are the women?” From