Middle East: New publication on strategies to tackle discrimination against women

'On the way to improved legal reality' is the last in a three-part series on women's rights in the Arab world.
The publication is produced by the GTZ Programme “Promoting Gender Equality and Women’s Rights” on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Through project examples, it features innovative approaches and strategies that foster the type of development cooperation that supports women in claiming their rights and overcoming gender-based discrimination. The first brochure provided an overview of gender-based discrimination against Muslim women in the context of national family law. Building on this, the second illustrated barriers faced by women in Muslim Countries seeking to claim their rights.

In 'On the way to improved legal reality', there are chapters on ending discrimination in formal law, in Egypt and Jordan, on strategies to assert legal entitlements in Egypt, and on disseminating legal knowledge through lobby work with multipliers and religious leaders, in Yemen. Authored by Martina Sabra, who is an expert in Islamic studies and works in journalism and development, the publication explores how the discrimination faced by women is the result of a complex web of political, social, cultural and economic factors.

The series falls under one of the competence areas of GTZ's Division 42 Governance and Democracy: State Reform and Political Participation, Law and Justice, Public Finance and Administration, Gender. As their 2004 brochure, Promotion of Good Governance (available here) explains, promotion of gender equality is an integral part of supporting good governance. It also contributes to the realization of internationally agreed development objectives, action programs and accords. GTZ strives to have an impact on the following: the orientation of public services, their policies and programs towards gender-specific needs of the population; equitable participation of women and men in the development processes of their country, be it in creating national and local political, economic, legal and social framework conditions, and thus, ultimately, overcoming existing discrimination against women in the public as well as in the private sphere.

GTZ services include:

* Implementation of national gender policies: e.g. strengthening the responsible ministries in their gender-mainstreaming function; promoting horizontal networking between relevant technical departments at the national and decentralized levels; strengthening the participation of civil society actors; supporting public relations and specialized forums as well as regional and international exchange of expertise.
* Integration of gender aspects into the administrative activity of national and decentralized public agencies: e.g. in personnel policy and personnel development; in planning and implementation of specific sectoral policies and programs, in particular, poverty-oriented national policies and programs (PRSP); creation of gender-differentiated monitoring systems; integration in to budget planning and management, the so-called gender budgets.
* Legal reforms in order to promote women rights: e.g. supporting the formulation and implementation of specific laws to promote women, such as e.g. laws protecting women against violence; the integration of gender aspects into the formulation of laws of other departments; monitoring laws to ensure adherence to the basic principle of equal rights; mediation between formal and traditional practices of administering justice.
* Fighting gender-specific violence: e.g. supporting the establishment of corresponding offices and qualified counseling for victims; training relevant officials of the law, such as e.g. judges, lawyers, police, paralegals, traditional ombudspersons; establishment of appropriate legal framework conditions; supporting rehabilitation measures for victims of trafficking in human beings.
* Fighting international trade in women: e.g. advising on the implementation of the UN protocol on contraceptives; fighting against and punishing trade in human being, in particular women and children; supporting the formulation and implementation of specific laws; advising and training relevant institutions and professional groups, such as e.g. the police, judiciary, specialized consultancy agencies; development of educational materials and campaigns; supporting the reintegration of victims.