Gender Justice and the Law: the policy perspective - ESCWA
16 December 2021

Beirut time

Expert Group Meeting

Gender Justice and the Law: the policy perspective

  • Online
Contact information

The Gender Justice and the Law initiative represents a multi-stakeholder partnership between ESCWA, the United Nations Development Programme, UN Women, the United Nations Population Fund, and national stakeholders from 20 Arab states. Through the publication of country-level reports, this initiative encourages policy and institutional reforms that enhance equal rights for women and address structural barriers to gender equality and women’s empowerment. In 2018, 18 country reports were published based on 29 indicators; in 2022, 20 country reports will be launched based on 79 indicators. 

The initiative is the result of a collaborative and consultative process. National level consultations allow for multi-stakeholder participation from various countries in the process. The objective behind this panel discussion is to share experiences and optimise the value of the Initiative for the region.

Outcome document

Participants were enthusiastic about the gender justice initiative and felt it held value for policymakers in their countries and the Region.  

The event started with an introduction by Hanan Rabani (UNFPA) who welcomed attendees and participants to the event.

Rania Tarazi (UNDP) then made a presentation on the Gender Justice Initiative – including an explanation of the methodology for national consultations.

Mehrinaz El Awady (ESCWA) moderated the discussion with panelists. The panelists were:

Dr Sabah Sami (Iraq) spoke from an academic perspective.

Ms Maissaa AlRaqishiah (Oman) spoke from her experience as a public prosecutor.  

Ms Houda Alkawari (Qatar) spoke from a legal and policy perspective, as she is the Secretary of the National Committee for Women, Children, the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities.

Ms Najat Abdulla (Qatar) spoke from a policy perspective, as she is Director of the Family Affairs Department

Ms Amal Haddadin (Jordan) spoke from a legal perspective, as she works with the National Women’s Machinery.

Ms Jinan Limam (Tunisia) spoke from an academic perspective. She specifically commented on the fact that decisionmakers benefit from the reports at a national level, and it highlights evidence from countries to see the differences in progress.


All panelists commented on lessons learned from the national consultations, encouraged future updates to the reports, and commented on the need for more women to engage in public life and politics.

All panelists mentioned that being able to see the positive changes made in national legislation from a longitudinal perspective is very helpful. This data collection exercise is useful for countries to visualise the gaps, although some may feel that when an indicator is colored ‘red’ it is negative, but in fact this just presents a roadmap for the future. It is a comparative exercise designed to advance policymaking.

Simone Olunya (UN Women) moderated the Q&A and made concluding remarks. Questions related to the inclusion of different actors, such as the judiciary, in the national consultations. She thanked participants and appreciated the enthusiasm they displayed about the Initiative.

There were approximately 50 attendees.

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