The Arab State and Women's Rights
The Trap of Authoritarian Governance
By Elham Manea
Routledge – 2012 – 240 pages
Researchers studying gender politics in Arab societies have been puzzled by a phenomenon common in many Arab states – while women are granted suffrage rights, they are often discriminated against by the state in their private lives.
This book addresses this phenomenon, maintaining that the Arab state functions according to a certain ‘logic’ and ‘patterns’ which have direct consequences on its gender policies, in both the public and private spheres. Using the features of the Arab Authoritarian state as a basis for a theoretical framework of analysis, the author draws on detailed fieldwork and first-hand interviews to study women’s rights in three countries - Yemen, Syria, and Kuwait. She argues that the puzzle may be resolved once we focus on the features of the Arab state, and its stage of development.
Offering a new approach to the study of gender and politics in Arab states, this book will be of great interest to scholars and students of gender studies, international politics and Middle East studies.
Part 1: Theoretical Framework 1. Suffrage Rights vs Personal Status Rights in Arab States 2. State and Gender Politics in Comparative Politics and Middle Eastern Studies 3. The Arab Authoritarian State and Women’s Rights: A Framework for Analysis Part 2: Arab State Formation, Social Fragmentation and Gender Politics 4. State Formation in the Pre-Independence Periods 5. Family Laws and Suffrage Rights in the Pre-Independence Periods Part 3: The Arab Authoritarian State and Women’s Rights 6. Features of the Post-Colonial Arab Authoritarian State and Gender Politics: An Approach 7. First Case Study: Yemen 8. Second Case Study: Kuwait 9. Third Case Study: Syria 10. Conclusion
Elham Manea is a Fulbright scholar working as an Associate Professor at the Political Science Institute at the University of Zurich, and is a consultant for Swiss government agencies and international and human rights organizations. Her research interests include gender and politics in Arab states, democratization and civil society in the Middle East, and politics of the Arabian Peninsula.