In the Shadow of the State: Changing Definitions of Arab Women's 'Developmental' Citizenship Rights


Hatem, M. F. 2005. “In the Shadow of the State: Changing Definitions of Arab Women's 'Developmental' Citizenship Rights.” Journal of Middle East Women's Studies 1 (3): 20-45.

Author: M. F. Hatem


In this article, I argue that the power of the state in Arab societies, coupled with the absence or weakness of independent women’s organizations, explains the slow progress made toward deepening women’s citizenship rights. In the attempt to develop this particular argument, I will offer a historical overview of the roles that the state and/or women have played in pushing women’s “developmental” citizenship rights over the last sixty years. These rights, associated with the economic and political development of a society, include women’s access to education, health care, employment, and political participation. They lay at the heart of what the UN has identified since 1991 as the central basis of human development, whose goal “is to enlarge the range of people’s choices and to make development more democratic and participatory” (UNDP 1991:1).

Topics: Education, Gender, Women, Livelihoods, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 2005

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