We, the women of the Mediterranean Forum, meeting in Tunis from 2-4
June, 1995, at the invitation of the Minister of Women's and Family
Affairs, organized by CREDIF, UNESCO, Institut Valencia de la Dona,
the Italo¬African Institute of Rome, the Forum of
Mediterranean Women of Marseilles, and KEGME, addressing the fourth
United Nations World Conference on Women
1. The reinforcement of democracy, human development based on the
respect of ecosystems, and negotiated solutions to conflicts are
the neces¬sary conditions for peace, the reconstruction of
social ties and the defense of the Mediterranean identity. These
cannot be obtained without equality and shared rights and
responsibilities between women and men.
2 It is by the acknowledgement of their power and the achievement
of economic autonomy that women can obtain and implement equality
in law and the recognition of their identity. These objectives
cannot be reached without the political, economic and social
transformation of the region.
3. Mediterranean countries have common cultural roots, and in their
diversity constitute a global space. It is the wealth of some which
causes the migration of others; it is the exclusion of some which
provokes the vio¬lence of others. Racism, xenophobia,
occupation and wars divide the region and threaten its security.
The Mediterranean never was and will never be a border, in spite of
all the decisions and measures aimed at frag¬menting it.
4. The defense and reinforcement of the Mediterranean identity of
diversi¬ty, and the respect of its components is a guarantee
of the stability, democ¬racy and development of the region
6. Conflicts have intensified and the logic of violence, including
violence against women, dominates the sociopolitical dynamics of
the Mediterranean. The Arab-Israeli conflict, the war in
Bosnia-Herzegovina, terror and acts of terrorism against the
civilian population in Algeria, the occupation of Cyprus, racism
and xenophobia in Europe, the rise of extremism everywhere, make of
this region a geopolitical area of para¬mount importance for
7. However, one should hail the Arab-Israeli peace process for
having raised hopes, for the first time in 50 years, of a real
peace founded on respect of sovereignty, the right to
self-determination and mutual security for all the peoples and
countries of the region. Nonetheless, this promise of peace is
facing substantial difficulties ...
10. Alienating the South will not solve the major problems
besetting the North. The ties between our countries are so old, so
strong and so numer¬ous that the exclusion of the South will
entail dangers for the stability and development acquired by the
11. The economic crisis and the globalization of the job market
call into question women's right to salaried jobs and destabilize
their work condi¬tions.
12. The number of working hours for the satisfaction of collective
needs (health care, the aged, children, institutional relations,
etc.) increases while the number of hours considered as productive
and paid work diminishes. Informal work has ultimately to be
considered as an integral part of the global economy.
13. The discrimination faced by women in the access to information
in sci¬ences and technology, to professional development, and
their conspicuous absence in education, at all levels, are an
obstacle for development and one of the main causes of poverty in
14. Inequality, de facto or de jure, in work opportunities is
multifaceted. Inequality in access- to careers and employment, a
gendered division of jobs and unequal salaries persist in all
Mediterranean countries, both south and north. The special case of
young women who have difficulties finding a first job, irrespective
of their education level, should be noted. We strong¬ly object
to the idea that women's work is an obstacle to the full
employ¬ment of men.
15. The instability of work for women, exacerbated in the
Mediterranean by the weight of tradition, results in the increasing
incorporation of women into the informal sector and black market
16. Certain solutions proposed to women, such as leaving business,
accepting seasonal work, at home, or even part-time, risks
confining women to unstable and marginal jobs. This would result in
the exacerba¬tion of the exploitation of women at work,
characterized by inadequate salaries, the absence of syndicated or
collective protection, and inexistent or insufficient social
The Women of the Mediterranean Urge
- The recognition of their contribution to lasting development and
the respect of the cultural diversity of the region.
- The introduction, application and follow-up of laws and equal
opportu¬nities between men and women of the Mediterranean in
- The introduction of national and multinational awareness programs
for the reinforcement of democracy, peaceful coexistence of
Mediterranean countries, respect of cultural and sexual
differences, tolerance for diversi¬ty, recognition of unity
and advancement of peace through the negotiation of
- That the international community make sure that, in the event of
an embargo, conditions of survival, health, education of the
civilian popula¬tion in general, and of women and children in
particular, are safeguarded. They strongly uphold the international
community's action aimed at cen¬suring the direct or indirect
perpetrators of rape as a weapon of war.
- The creation of infrastructure and social services which permit
concilia¬tion between the family, professional and
sociopolitical lives of men and women.
- The appreciation of women's reproductive function, which must be
rec¬ognized as a productive activity, by the adoption of a new
methodology of measuring women's contribution to national revenues,
especially in the informal sector and domestic tasks.
- Information, training and development awareness programs to
produce a symmetrical distribution of tasks in the family and in
- The stimulation and intensification of education and cultural and
pro¬fessional development, to facilitate women's access to the
world of employment.
- The insurance of the right to a free and conscious
- The establishment of support mechanisms aimed at the long-lasting
development of movements for the protection of nature, in
cooperation with women's organizations.
-To make contact with all women, organized or not, of all the
Mediterranean people involved in conflicts, in order to reach a
negotiated solution favoring the respect of every individual's
rights and dignity.
- To support the efforts of Israeli and Palestinian women for the
imple¬mentation of the Oslo accords in accordance with the
agreed timetable and the commencement of negotiations on the final
status. They also endeavor to enhance the participation of
Palestinian women in the building of their country's social and
- To encourage partnership and joint development in order to create
a zone of economic, political and sociocultural dynamism, and to
reinforce solidarity, security, stability and progress in the
- To motivate women and associations to present projects to
internation¬al bodies in order to enhance the economic
capabilities of women. The European Union, during its planned
meeting in June 1995 in Cannes, as well as the participants of
Mediterranean countries in the encounter to be held in Barcelona in
November 1995, will recognize the importance of both women's work
and their contribution, and will provide the means to per¬mit
them to partake actively in the social, economic and political life
of their respective countries.