This House believes that Arab women should have full equality with men

Wednesday June 01 2005
MOTION PASSED by 86% to 14%


This House believes that Arab women should have full equality with men

This month’s Doha Debate asks whether women in the Arab world should have equal status with men

DOHA—A few weeks ago, women in Kuwait finally caught up to their counterparts in Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and much of the rest of the Arab world, when they were given the right to vote and run for office, the result of a 35-23 vote in parliament.

Kuwaiti women won the right, however, under the condition that they abide by Islamic law. What limits will such a condition, placed by Islamic lawmakers who had previously succeeded in blocking the vote, put on the women’s newly earned right to participate in the decision-making of their country?

According to some fundamentalist Muslim teaching, women in Islam are not allowed the right to hold positions of political leadership. They are, however, allowed the right to divorce, inherit property, be educated and conduct business.

Should Arab women enjoy equal status with men? Does equality necessarily mean the same rights?

This Wednesday, June 1, four distinguished speakers will explore these and related arguments in the seventh in the series of Doha Debates, presented by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

Chaired by former BBC presenter Tim Sebastian, the Doha Debates revolve around a motion presented to a live audience—in this case, 'This House believes that Arab women should have equality with men.' Two speakers argue for the motion and two speak against it. Sebastian draws out the speakers, challenging their positions, and then opens the debate to questions from the audience. Finally the audience votes to accept or reject the motion, based on the merits of the arguments the speakers have made.

Speaking in favor of the motion will be Dr. Tareq Al Suwaidan, a Kuwaiti presenter of numerous Islamic programs on local and satellite television. He will be joined by Toujan Faisal, the first woman elected into the Jordanian parliament.

Speaking against the motion will be Sheikh Jihad Brown, an Islamic scholar and a consultant for various Islamic projects in the region. He will be joined by Khola Hassan, an author who has been outspoken on the position of women in Islam.

Watch online