Mediterranean Women and Democracy is a compilation of the papers presented in an international conference held in İstanbul on May 3-4, 1997. In that conference, the participators sought to analyze and pinpoint the place and role of women in democracy within the context of Mediterranean societies. Papers presented, in their specific experiences, reflected the impact of the political parties and the civil society on the political participation of women; the difficulties and handicaps women candidates and voters faced in this process, and the role played by the law and religion in facilitating or debilitating women’s political participation.
The fact that Mediterranean Women and Democracy is being published bottle in Turkish and English points out to the importance of local and regional characteristics with respect to “women and political life” in the new Millenium. Women who share a common geography and to some extent a common culture, in addition to presenting their papers also prepared a “final declaration” reflecting the lessons they drew from varied experiences. This declaration which was presented to the attention of the Turkish and world public opinion contains meaningful messages for those women who struggle for active participation in political life and also for those politicians who sincerely wish to make a contribution to the creation of a truly democratic culture.
The conference on “Mediterranean Women and Democracy” also brought an award to our Women’s Research and Education Çenter (İstanbul): our totally amateurish organization was chosen the “second best congress of the year 1997” by the Congress Review!
It seems that nothing can hinder women önce they ünite in solidarity and cooperation at a local, national or international level; Conference on Mediterranean Women and Democracy has given us all hope in that respect.
This book which is the comnıon product of fruitful cooperation between the Women’s Research and Education Çenter of İstanbul University, REUNIR (the Communication Netvvork from Coast to Coast of UNESCO), and the Women’s Studies Association, brings yotı the story of the Mediterranean women and their ongoing quest for democracy. I believe there are lessons we all can draw from this story...