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    Arab leaders stress equality for women.

    DISPATCHES: NEWS FROM UNFPA. 1996 Nov; (11):2.

    As part of a series of Arab regional meetings on social affairs, an expert group meeting was held September 25-27, 1996. Participants included Jordan's Minister for Social Development, Abu Jamous, who emphasized a new role for women, one in which they could participate actively in society without restriction by tradition and culture. Recommendations included improving women's access to quality reproductive health care (including family planning), particularly in rural areas. Raising awareness among women and among communities concerning the positive outcome of reproductive health and decreased maternal mortality due to repeated childbearing was stressed. At the first meeting of this event, representatives of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) discussed follow-up for the recommendations of the Fourth World Conference on Women (Beijing, 1995) and adopted a Plan of Action. Her Royal Highness Basma Bint Talal of Jordan, in her opening remarks, spoke about the vital role of NGOs "in women's development and their fight against discrimination, so that they will be equal to men and be able to serve their community based on the Islamic sharia and our Arab tradition". Atef Khalifa, director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Country Support Team for Arab States and Europe, reported that all delegations had "keen understanding and great awareness of reproductive health issues" and "fully endorsed programs and mechanisms related to reproductive health and rights". UNFPA representatives provided presentations during several panel discussions at this event.
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