Gender Issues

Women in the Middle East North African region pushing back against patriarchy

The world celebrated International Women’s Day on Sunday March 8. But such symbolic days seem to have little effect on the actual status of women in the world, as a recent United Nations report notes. Despite strides towards greater gender equality, the world body notes there is not a single country that has achieved gender equality. Moreover, 90% of men…

Why do Arabs dream of leaving their homelands?

High unemployment rates, oppressive regimes and a desire for better education are some of the reasons cited by Arabs who express a desire to leave their countries. The Arab world has seen a lot of its youth move in search of better opportunities for employment, freedom of expression, in addition to escaping from social and cultural norms they find oppressive….

Celebrating Arab women’s rights

Women’s yearning for fairness and equality has the support of overwhelming majorities in the Arab world. This year, as it is the case every year, the world marks International Women’s Day on March 8. The commemoration is usually an occasion for celebration of the milestones achieved. In the Arab world, there have been quite a few such recent milestones that…

Women’s Agency & Economic Mobility in MENA: Examining Patterns & Implications

Key Findings: Opinions regarding women’s rights and their roles in society are progressing unevenly in MENA. While citizens of Arab countries are more approving of women’s right to education, work and holding political office, there is far from universal agreement that women should have equal rights in all areas. Moreover, there is little agreement that women should have equal roles…

Women approve of FGM more than men in Egypt, survey reveals

Even though the country first outlawed FGM in 2008 and further deemed it a felony in 2016, 51 percent of Egyptian women still approve of the procedure. Female genital mutilation (FGM), which is defined as a “partial or total removal of external genitalia, or any other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons” by the World Health Organization…

What Arab Publics Think: Findings from the Fifth Wave of Arab Barometer

Key Findings from Wave 5: Half of Arabs want better ties with China while roughly four-in-ten want stronger relations with the U.S & Russia. Many want an increase in foreign aid, but are are largely indifferent to whether it comes from the E.U. or other countries. Few favor Iran while Saudi favorability has declined since 2016, leaving Turkey as the…

Prominent Tunisian gay rights activist flees to France after death threats

Mounir Batour ran in Tunisia’s presidential election as an openly gay candidate. He now says his life is in danger A former presidential candidate and leader of Tunisia’s largest gay rights group said he has been forced to leave the country and take refuge in France after he has received “very serious” death threats. Mounir Baatour ran in the 2019…

Do Female Local Councilors Improve Women’s Representation?

Tunisia’s 2018 municipal elections, in which a legislated quota was implemented and women won 47 percent of seats, raises questions about whether electing female councilors improves women’s representation in clientelistic settings. Using data from the Local Governance Performance Index (LGPI), an original survey of 3,600 Tunisians conducted in 2015 by the Program on Governance and Local Development (GLD), this article…

Support for feminism among highly religious Muslim citizens in the Arab region

Public opinion studies argue that in Middle Eastern and North African countries, Muslims support gender equality less than non-Muslims. This overlooks the diversity in religion–feminism relations. Highly religious Muslims who support feminism are disregarded, even though in-depth studies have repeatedly pointed to their existence. Grounded in a structured anthology of qualitative studies on Muslim feminism, we provide the first ever…