Gender Paradoxes of the Arab Spring

Authored by: Andrea Khalil

Categories: Statebuilding
Sub-Categories: Human Development, Political Transitions
Region: Middle East and North Africa
Year: 2014
Citation: Khalil, Andrea. "Gender Paradoxes of the Arab Spring." Journal of North African Studies 19, no. 2 (2014): 131-6.

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Executive Summary

The idea for this collected volume came out of an urgent need to focus on how women are impact-ing and being impacted by the on-going transformations in the Arab Spring geography. The events in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, Libya, Algeria and across the region have been permeated by struggles related to women’s rights: gender politics (legislation, constitutional articles and transitional justice) and gender-based violence. However, serious discussions about gender equity have been sidelined by louder and on-going complications of transitional democracy, constitution drafting, elections and protracted questions of transitional justice. All of these aspects of democratic transition in North Africa have gender-related dimensions, yet these dimensions have been marginalised or recuperated by political agendas. As most of the contributors in this volume point out in their essays, gender-sensitive legislations (quotas, personal status codes, justice for female victims of state violence, etc.) have been discussed in ideological ways through the state feminist discourses of the previous regimes as well as the governments that rose to power after the Arab Spring. The aim of the volume is to propose new lenses for thinking about gender, given the contemporary context, to provide a theoretical understanding of events that have occurred to women, and to make sense of the gender-political debates since the Arab Spring. The authors of this volume have tracked, measured and theorised women' s involvement in protest,debates about citizenship, constitution-writing and electoralism throughout the historic events of 2011–13 across North Africa.