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FNs utviklingsprogram har levert den tredje i serien av artikler om tilstandene i den arabiske verden, denne gang med vekt på kvinners stilling. Det går for sakte. Hvis araberlandene skal ha noe håp om å ta igjen resten av verden, må de satse i en helt annen grad på kvinner, heter det. Rapporten nevner behov for positiv diskriminering, dvs. kvotering, for å øke kvinners deltakelse.

Som tidligere er det araberverdenens egne forskere og intellektuelle som har skrevet rapporten.

The report, released yesterday in Yemen, urges Arab leaders to make genuine changes and to reinterpret Islamic laws as a means to empower women.

Arab governments have «announced a host of reforms targeting freedom and good governance,» the report says. But «reforms often seemed empty gestures to cover up the continuation of an oppressive status quo.»

«Women are making gains, but they are not realizing their full potential yet in contributing to the prosperity and strength of their societies,» Amat al-Alim Alsoswa, director of the U.N. Development Program’s Arab bureau, said in a telephone interview from Sanaa, Yemen’s capital. «There is only partial progress. Women in the Arab world are moving closer to legal equality, but this is not enough.»

The report recommends using affirmative action or quotas, at least temporarily, to put women in decision-making positions, as was done in Iraq and Jordan. Quotas are especially important in countries where «discriminatory clauses are embedded in their legal structure,» it says.

U.N. Cites Arab World’s ‘Empty Gestures’ on Women