Our Vice-president Maysing Yang was one of the participants in this discussion.
Dhouba Debaya from Tunisia gave us some important challenges for his country. First, the law must be changed in order to get a better position for women. One of the privileges that has recently been demolished is the law on polygamy. Through all the pressure of many women and political parties it is now abolished. A good operating political party can lead a country into a civil society.
The moderator was Boris van der Ham, LI HRC member.

The moderator was Boris van der Ham, LI HRC member.

In many African countries the laws are not the biggest problem, but the culture of the groups is. Those specific characteristics are the most difficult to change. Education is vital in this aspect for men and women in order to get a different view on many of these cultural issues. For example, marriage outside your own group is forbidden. If more women get educated about these cultural habits opportunities for change will occur and that will ultimately give new possibilities for a new generation. The possession of a radio helps, this also helps to ban illiteracy.
Many men in Guinee for instance find it hard to accept modern changes. The primitive culture and belief are always present and their attitude towards women is not easy to change. Even in some countries some of the habits are set down by law. So, to get improvement the laws need to be changed. But first and foremost, the attitude of all the men and women must change and that can be partly achieved through education and politics.
Educating more women and giving them positions in politics helps to improve this whole aspect. In many African countries more women than men are voting during elections, but often they don’t vote for other women but for men. This also needs education from other women and emphasis on the importance to support your own gender as much as you can if you want to see more women in important positions.
Overall there is progress in the region but there is still a lot to be done. Very often the results are small but still any progress is better than none and is the conclusion of the discussion was that we can see that we are not losing ground.