The divas of the Arab world have, over the past century, brought "boundless inspiration and drive" to their societies and the struggle for women's rights from the Sudan to Egypt, the French president Emmanuel Macron, said yesterday evening.
The president was speaking at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris (IMA) where he was visiting the "Divas, from Oum Kalthoum to Dalida" exhibition,which runs until 26th of September, 2021. He was accompanied by his wife Brigitte Macron and former minister of culture Jack Lang.
"This is not a fight that came from the other side of the Mediterranean, not a lesson given by others," the president added.
"At a time when religious conservatism was no less present, it came from women who took a political stance and relayed it through their art".
The president stopped often and at length in front of films and photos of singers who unleashed the passion of the crowds acorss the entire Arab world and whose contributions have been pulled together for the exhbition.
"This story of dignity and equality must to be told again and again. I have great admiration for the revolution in Sudan, which happened with hardly a shot being fired. It was led largely by women, by poets," he said, stressing that France can help these women artists in Arab countries today by "allowing them to create [and] to invent".
"This is what we have done with Yezidi women, Sudanese women, by giving them hospitality in France, by allowing them to study," he said.
Macron also chaired a dinner at the IMA with participants who took part in the UN forum on gender equality.
Organised in Paris and online, the Generation Equality Forum aims to promote concrete commitments from States, civil society organisations and philanthropists for a "global acceleration plan" towards equality, around several themes such as violence against women, the right to control one's own body, girls' education and economic equality.