About

Spring Forward for Women Programme

The uprisings sweeping the Arab States region after December 2010 have dramatically created new momentum for women’s meaningful citizenship and political empowerment in a region with the lowest levels of political and labour force participation among women globally. The regional women’s economic and political empowerment (Spring Forward for Women) Programme 2012-2016 aims to advance the economic empowerment of women in the Southern Mediterranean region and to assist them to reposition themselves in the political and decision making spaces so that they may have greater influence in shaping the future of their countries in the on-going democratic transition while protecting their previous gains.   By addressing the barriers that have impeded the access and engagement of marginalised women in economic and public life, the programme is increasing the access and effective participation of marginalised women. The programme ensures that Southern Mediterranean countries receive capacity building, advocacy, and programmatic action especially in priority countries undergoing: transition and reforms, such as Libya, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt; experiencing unrest such as Syria and in protracted conflict, such as Palestine.

It is expected that the project will achieve:

  • Greater ability of civil society to encourage and increase women’s participation in the political and economic spheres as well as governments’ capacity to set the systems and resources in place to serve women’s needs and priorities.
  • Influence  the policy making process through supporting advocacy efforts of women’s rights organizations and networks, feminists economists, gender experts, national women’s machineries, gender focal points in line ministries, and women parliamentarians.
  • Increase exchange of best practices across the region by conducting economic and political research and gender analysis.

The Spring Forward for Women programme works at multiple levels to respond to the specific support needs at the regional and country level, building on local initiatives in selected countries, with the recognition that sustainable change must be locally-owned and led. At regional level the work focuses on capacity building and advocacy targeting all Southern Mediterranean countries coupled with programmatic action in a number of priority countries undergoing either transition and reforms, such as Libya, Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt or experiencing unrest such as Syria or in protracted conflicts such as Palestine. At regional level the work focuses on capacity building and advocacy targeting all Southern Mediterranean countries. The programme methodology is focusing on four areas to achieve its desired results:

  • Capacity building: By strengthening the capacity of different stakeholders, the programme aims to ensure civil society’s greater ability to encourage and increase women’s participation in the political and economic spheres as well as governments’ capacity to set the systems and resources in place to serve women’s needs and priorities.
  • Evidence-based advocacy: By supporting advocacy efforts by gender advocates from civil society (women’s rights organizations and networks, feminists economists and gender experts), from government (National Women Mechanisms, gender focal points in ministries, and women parliamentarians), the programme seeks to influence the policy making process.
  • Knowledge building and information sharing By undertaking research and gender analysis of the economic and political regional context, the programme aims at influencing the policy dialogue at national and regional levels, strengthening the voice of gender advocates, and providing evidence for change. It also aims at increasing exchange of best practices across the region.
  • Partnership building, coordination and engaging with multiple stakeholders: By engaging with multiple stakeholders (government, civil society, academia, media, etc.) and creating or strengthening spaces for multi-stakeholder dialogue, the programme aims at strengthening the commitment of different levels of government, opening spaces for civil society, and strengthening commitment towards women participation in public life.
The project is financed through a contribution of € 7 million from the European Neighborhood Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and of € 1.2 million from the UN Women.