This book examines the position of women in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Although it is culturally diverse, this region shares many commonalities with relation to women that are strong, deep, and pervasive: a space-based patriarchy, a culturally strong sense of religion, a smooth co-existence of tradition and modernity, a transitional stage in development, and multilingualism/multiculturalism.
Experts from within the region and from outside provide both theoretical angles and case studies, drawing on fieldwork from Egypt, Oman, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Iran, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Spain. Addressing the historical, socio-cultural, political, economic, and legal issues in the region, the chapters cover five major aspects of women’s agency:
- political agency
- civil society activism
- legal reform
- cultural and social agencies
- religious and symbolic agencies.
Bringing to light often marginalized topics and issues, the book underlines the importance of respecting specificities when judging societies and hints at possible ways of promoting the MENA region. As such, it is a valuable addition to existing literature in the field of political science, sociology, and women’s studies.
Introduction: Contextualizing Women’s Agency in the MENA Region Fatima Sadiqi and Moha Ennaji Part 1: Reconsidering the Foundations of Women, Islam and Political Agency 1. The Veil: Religious/Historical Foundations of the Modern Political Discourse Nazli Rizk 2. Women, Islam and Political Agency in Morocco Fatima Sadiqi 3. Assia Djebar and Malika Mokeddem: Neo-Colonial Agents or Post-Colonial Subjects? Abdelkader Cheref 4. Women and Political Reform in Israel Galia Golan Part 2: Women’s Leadership in Civil Society 5. Women’s NGOs and Social Change in Morocco Moha Ennaji 6. Palestinian Women’s Movements: From Active Militants to Stateless Citizens Islah Jad Part 3: Women and Legal Reform 7. Tunisia at the Forefront of the Arab World: Two Waves of Gender Legislation Mounir M. Charrad 8. Feminism and Family Law in Iran: The Struggle for Women’s Economic Citizenship in the Islamic Republic Valentine Moghadam 9. The Legal Status of Women in Egypt: Reform and Social Inertia Hoda Awad Part 4: Women, Social, Cultural, Religious and Symbolic Change 10. Algerian Women as Actors of Change and Social Cohesion Zahia Smail Salhi 11. Women in Turkey: Caught in the Bind Between Tradition and Modernity Fatima Umut Bespinar-Ekici 12. Women and Language in Tunisia Raoudha Kammoun 13. Women, Education and the Redefinition of Empowerment and Change in a Traditional Society: The Case of Oman Thuwayba Al-Barawani 14. Transforming Religious Expression: Ishelhin (Berber) Women and the Creation of a Local Islamic Tradition Margaret Rausch 15. Moroccan Women Contrabandists: Interferences in Public Space Touria Khannous 16. The Orient Within: Women "In-between" Under Francoism Aurora G. Morcillo
"This book makes an important contribution towards understanding women’s status in contemporary Middle East and North African (MENA) countries... This book successfully encapsulates the diversity and similarity in women’s status and the response of the state in MENA countries. It also addresses the convergence of various feminist strands within the MENA region and generates a dynamic debate on women within Islam." - Keerty Nakray, OP Jindal Global University, New Delhi, India; Journal of Human Development and Capabilities: A Multi-Disciplinary Journal for People-Centered Development, 13:4, 625-626