No Arab Spring Without the ‘Flower’ of Women’s Rights
"Nearly two years after the start of uprisings across the Arab world, Arab women are confronting the reality that toppling dictators was only the beginning of their fight for freedom and equality. In Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, women are battling deep-seated conservative cultural norms and efforts by newly empowered Islamic parties to deprive them of the rights granted to them by prior autocratic regimes. Women in countries not yet subjected to revolts are also seeking to benefit from the democratic upheavals to improve their social and legal standing.On Tuesday, Oct. 2, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a group of young Arab women activists discussed these challenges and debated how best to deal with them. There were heated disagreements about the role of Islam — one participant called “Islamic feminism” an oxymoron — and about whether it was better to focus on improving the general welfare rather than on women’s rights alone. "
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