House of Lords
Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts (Conservative)
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made representations to countries involved in the Arab spring to ensure that women participate in both transitional arrangements and new political structures, in accordance with United Nations Resolution 1325.
Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
Women played a central role in the 2011 Arab spring, where they voiced their demands for improved freedoms, opportunities and social justice. They also have a vital role to play in both transitional arrangements and new political structures as well as building stability in the region. Securing greater participation for women in all political and economic life will continue to be an essential part of our work and we will continue to press for this in our Government to government engagement in the region. The Government have made representations to countries experiencing the Arab spring. For example, in Libya the importance of women's inclusion in the political process has been raised with the new Libyan authorities.
In our programme approach, we have worked with project partners to ensure that gender issues are taken into account, for instance by working to ensure that training courses for journalists have gender-balanced participation. The Arab Partnership Fund also supports projects with a particular gender focus, aiming to strengthen women's political and economic participation, such as a project in Tunisia led by Electoral Reform International Services (ERIS) to support a voter outreach programme targeting women voters in rural areas.
We will shortly publish a plan for regional action on United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325 in the Middle East and North Africa, as part of a revision of the Government's National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325 Women, Peace and Security.