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PES Women President’s blog

Strengthening Arab social democratic women

It is under the slogan Taste of Freedom: Power to Women that the Global Progressive Forum with its Partners, PES Women, the S&D Group, Solidar and the Arab Social Democratic Forum (ASDF), wanted to mark its presence at this year's World Social Forum in Tunis.

Only days after the terrorist attacks at Bardo Museum in Tunis, I traveled to Tunisia to give my strong support to my friends from Ettakatol, our Tunisian sister party, and the Arab Social Democratic Forum by underlining that terrorism and fear will not rule our societies and that together we will continue fighting for democracy, for equality, for the role and voice of women, youth and grassroots movements.

I am therefore glad that the World Social Forum took place in a peaceful manner in Tunis and that our workshop 'Taste of Freedom: Power to Women' organised at this year's WSF came timely. The workshop put at the core of its debate the role that women played in democratic transitions in the Arab Revolutions and how to maintain women's visibility and effectiveness towards progress for gender equality and women's rights in the region.

Not only did the Forum happen in a serene mood, but so many young people from the region attended the numerous workshops and rallies and showed that they were not going to give up. I was in particularly touched by the young vibrant women I met: women from across political movements, from different generations, sectors, religion and social status, who want to overcome the hurdles that lie in front of them to claim their place, freedom, rights and power in society. They want to find synergies in order to continue in a positive progressive way forward.

Women have been the front runners of change and revolution. As a Hungarian citizen, having gone through a transition period, I know how important it is to keep women in the driving force position for the coming years and the future of the region. I saw how building bridges with civil society to ensure social justice and to keep a strong and effective women's/feminist movement is the only way towards progressive societies. We can't allow backlash to occur after all the efforts made in the past 4 years and this is why I will keep working side by side with Arab women.

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