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Cultivating Resilient Institutions in the Arab Region: National Women’s Machineries in Challenging Times

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The present study examines how national women’s machineries in the Arab region cultivate resilience to continue operating and delivering during conflict, occupation and formal political transitions. It defines a set of resilience characteristics, namely awareness, diversity, integration, selfregulation and adaptivity, and adopts them as a framework to examine the state of national women’s machineries in four Arab countries: Jordan, which is hosting a sizeable refugee population; the State of Palestine, which is under occupation; Tunisia, which has gone through a formal political transition; and Yemen, which, is conflict-affected. In doing so, it highlights examples of good or unique practice that can benefit other Arab countries.

The study finds that national women’s machineries in the Arab region continuously assume different forms and mandates to remain relevant in challenging contexts. They show resilience in unique and creative ways; however, no machinery in the region has all five characteristics of resilience simultaneously. The study calls upon all national women’s machineries in the region to develop a resilience framework, particularly during times of stability, to ensure that they will be better placed to withstand shocks and challenges when the need arises.