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North Africa

Explaining Divergent Outcomes of the Arab Spring: The Significance of Gender and Women's Mobilizations

Citation:

Moghadam, Valentine M. 2018. "Explaining Divergent Outcomes of the Arab Spring: The Significance of Gender and Women's Mobilizations." Politics, Groups, and Identities 6 (4): 666-81.

Author: Valentine Moghadam

Abstract:

The Arab Spring has been extensively analyzed but the presence or absence of violent protests and the divergent outcomes of the uprising that encompassed the Arab region have not been explained in terms of the salience of gender and women’s mobilizations. I argue that women’s legal status, social positions, and collective action prior to the Arab Spring helped shape the nature of the 2011 mass protests as well as the political and social outcomes of individual countries. I compare and contrast two sets of cases: Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia, which saw non-violent protests and relatively less repression on the part of the state; and Bahrain, Libya, Syria, and Yemen, where states responded to the protests, whether violent or non-violent, with force and repression, and where women and their rights have been among the principal victims. I also show why women fared worse in Egypt than in Morocco and Tunisia.

Keywords: Arab Spring, women's rights, women's mobilizations, outcomes, violence, democratization

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Nonviolence, Rights, Women's Rights, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen

Year: 2018

Smoke and Mirrors: State-Sponsored Feminism in Post-Uprising Egypt

Citation:

Allam, Nermin. 2019. "Smoke and Mirrors: State-Sponsored Feminism in Post-uprising Egypt." Social Research 86 (1): 365-86.

Author: Nermin Allam

Annotation:

Summary:
"In 2012, I carried out my first round of interviews with women in Egypt. I was then studying their experiences in the 2011 uprising that led to the ousting of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. The aura that surrounded the interviews at that time was marked by cautious optimism, hope, and a belief in a better future. This aura, however, was short-lived, and soon came to an end with the resurgence of gender inequality and the failure of democratic transition in Egypt. Themes of despair and disappointment became fundamental features of my interviews in 2014, and more intensely in 2017, as female participants reflected on their experiences and their expectations for change following the uprising. Participants described the sense of feeling "worthless [belā qīmah]," "exhausted [ta'banah]," and "depleted [mu'damah]." However, whenever I asked if that was the end of change and reform, they hastily responded: "Not yet." 
 
Activists often asserted that the experience of collective action had changed them and that "things" cannot return to the "old days." However, as other participants asserted during my interviews and as is still the case at the time of this writing, "things" seem by far worse in comparison to the "old days," which leaves unanswered the question of what has really changed. The answer is that the agenda of women's rights did shift in the evolving political landscape that followed the 2011 Egyptian uprising, specifically with the revival of state feminism under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. 
 
Al-Sisi's regime has sought to contain women's groups through policies of state-sponsored feminism, meaning the different ways in which the regime moves to offer limited advancements in women's rights during periods of economic development (Hatem 1992). In exchange for these limited rights, the regime sanctions independent feminist initiatives while it actually restricts their autonomy (Hatem 1992). Except for the brief period immediately following the uprising, state-sponsored feminism throughout Egypt's modern history has marked and governed gender politics, ostensibly laying essential foundations for improving the lives of women. However, in the absence of a strong independent feminist movement, this foundation was vulnerable to regressive backlash as soon as the political structure changed (Kato 2017). 
 
Unlike the "first lady syndrome" (Elsadda 2011) associated with former Egyptian regimes, characterized by the first lady and her clique intervening on behalf of women's groups and championing women's rights, the president himself, in what I call "al-Sisi Syndrome," has personally taken on that responsibility. His policies have yielded significant developments and advancements but also challenges for women's rights in Egypt, including the populist discourses embraced by the regime to control the agenda of women's rights and to discredit independent feminists. 
 
The backlash against women's rights in Egypt following the 2011 uprising underscores the ways in which state-sponsored feminism as a political opportunity is a "fickle friend" (Tarrow 1998, 89). It constantly shifts and changes and can eventually turn against members that contributed to opening this space and benefited from it. I prefer the term "flickering" to "fickle" because it encompasses the possibility that even if state-sponsored feminism does not outright turn on its members, it nevertheless engenders mixed outcomes anddisappointments. It creates a unique set of opportunities and challenges for the women's movement in Egypt. These opportunities and obstacles condition the development of the movement, the resonance of women's rights discourse, and the access of different women's groups to decision-making and political participation. 
 
The policies of state-sponsored feminism under al-Sisi bear great resemblance to the gender policies of Mubarak's regime yet also entail new articulations. It is fruitful, therefore, to compare the historical and current contours of the policy and examine how the interests, identities, and strategies of different actors changed following the uprising. Doing so reveals the limitations of state-sponsored feminism in renegotiating the relationship between state institutions and civil society organizations. Such analysis also highlights the potential of state feminism to challenge gendered social norms and perceptions among the different segments in the society." (Allam 2019, 365-67)

Topics: Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Nationalism, Post-Conflict, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2019

Traumatic Stress Among Sexual and Gender Minority Refugees from the Middle East, North African, and Asia who Fled to the European Union

Citation:

Alessi, Edward J., Sarilee Kahn, Leah Woolner, and Rebecca Van Der Horn. 2018. "Traumatic Stress Among Sexual and Gender Minority Refugees From the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia Who Fled to the European Union." Journal of Traumatic Stress 31 (6): 805-15.

Authors: Edward J. Alessi, Sarilee Kahn, Leah Woolner, Rebecca Van Der Horn

Abstract:

In 2015, more than 600,000 individuals from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan fled to Europe in search of protection. Among the most understudied of this population are individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ). These individuals have not only fled war but also violence due to their sexual and/or gender identities. At the same time, LGBTQ individuals from other parts of the Middle East, Central and South Asia, and North Africa have also fled to Europe to escape persecution. The purpose of this multimethod study was to understand how traumatic stress shaped the experiences of 38 LGBTQ individuals who fled to Austria (n = 19) and the Netherlands (n = 19) from these regions. We assessed participants for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and conducted qualitative interviews to understand their migration experiences. Of the 37 participants assessed for PTSD, 33 (89.2%) reported that their most distressing event occurred prior to migration. For the 24 (64.9%) participants who met criteria for a provisional diagnosis of PTSD, 15 reported that the precipitating event was related to their sexual and/or gender identities and 9 reported that it was related to another type of event (e.g., war). Grounded theory was used to analyze qualitative data. Themes demonstrated that participants encountered targeted violence and abuse throughout migration and upon their arrival in Austria and the Netherlands. Findings indicate that LGBTQ refugees may be vulnerable to ongoing trauma from other refugees and immigration officials. Recommendations for protecting and supporting LGBTQ refugees during humanitarian emergencies are provided.

 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Health, PTSD, Trauma, Humanitarian Assistance, Sexuality, Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Europe, Western Europe Countries: Afghanistan, Austria, Iraq, Netherlands, Syria

Year: 2018

Renegotiating Gender and the State in Tunisia between 2011 and 2014: Power, Positionality, and the Public Sphere

Citation:

Antonakis, Anna. 2019. Renegotiating Gender and the State in Tunisia between 2011 and 2014: Power, Positionality, and the Public Sphere. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden.

Author: Anna Antonakis

Annotation:

Summary:
Anna Antonakis’ analysis of the Tunisian transformation process (2011-2014) displays how negotiations of gender initiating new political orders do not only happen in legal and political institutions but also in media representations and on a daily basis in the family and public space. While conventionalized as a “model for the region”, this book outlines how the Tunisian transformation missed to address social inequalities and local marginalization as much as substantial challenges of a secular but conservative gender order inscribed in a Western hegemonic concept of modernity. She introduces the concept of “dissembled secularism” to explain major conflict lines in the public sphere and the exploitation of gender politics in a context of post-colonial dependencies. 
 
Table of Contents:
1. Introduction
 
2. Positionalities, Modernity, and the Public Sphere
 
3. Constructing an Empirically Grounded Framework
 
4. The Nation State within the Matrix of Domination
 
5. Detecting the Matrix of Domination: a Historical Perspective
 
6. Counterpublic Resistance under Ben Ali's Rule
 
7. Challenging the Matrix of Domination
 
8. The Structural Dimension of the Public Sphere
 
9. The Representational Dimension of the Public Sphere
 
10. The Interactional Dimension of the Public Sphere
 
11. Conclusion
 
12. Outlook: Negotiating Homosexualities in Tunisia: Inclusions and Exploitations in the Hegemonic Public Sphere after 2014

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Media, Post-Conflict, Sexuality Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Tunisia

Year: 2019

A Gender Analysis of Peace Agreements and Transitional Documents in Libya, 2011-2018

Citation:

Forster, Robert. 2019. A Gender Analysis of Peace Agreements and Transitional Documents in Libya, 2011-2018. Edinburgh: UN Women.

Author: Robert Forster

Annotation:

Summary: 
"In this Spotlight, we review 26 peace agreements and transition documents signed in Libya between 2011 and 2018, assessing how they provide for the inclusion of women and gender. 1 There are different notions of how to analyse gender in peace agreements and peace processes (see Box 1). 2 Here we review when and how women and gender are explicitly mentioned in the agreements, and how some key areas relevant to gender equality are dealt with. The analysis primarily focuses on two documents, the Constitutional Declaration of 20113 and the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) of 2015. Together, these documents were to function as Libya’s interim constitution for the transitional period. Even though the LPA was not formally adopted by Libyan political institutions, both documents provide a framework for ongoing formal peace talks. The Spotlight goes on to provide an overview of eight intercommunal local agreements as well as ten localised ceasefire agreements (see summary of agreements in Appendix). The analysis concludes that while there are increased references to women and their participation in Libya’s main transitional documents over time, specific provisions for women are ad hoc across Libya’s national and local peace processes; there is little evidence of a gender sensitive approach and none of the agreements are fully gender responsive or gender inclusive" (Forster 2019, 2).

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Constitutions, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Libya

Year: 2019

Gendering Tunisia's Transition: Transformative Gender Justice Outcomes in Times of Transitional Justice Turmoil?

Citation:

Ketelaars, Elise. 2018. "Gendering Tunisia's Transition: Transformative Gender Justice Outcomes in Times of Transitional Justice Turmoil?" The International Journal of Transitional Justice 12 (3): 407-26.

Author: Elise Ketelaars

Abstract:

In the summer of 2017 Tunisia achieved some notable victories in the field of women’s rights, while at the same time it witnessed the further backtracking of its already fragile transitional justice process. Though various analyses in local and international media have touched upon the current regime’s use of gender-friendly policies to cover up its otherwise illiberal agenda, few have considered what the consequences of these developments are for the advancement of gender justice in Tunisia. This article looks into this question, focusing specifically on the transformative potential of the activities of Tunisia’s Truth and Dignity Commission. It uses these insights to feed into the feminist academic debate on ‘transformative justice.’ The Tunisian case study shows that reliance on technical innovations within traditional transitional justice mechanisms does not necessarily guarantee the pursuance of transformative justice outcomes which cross political divides.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Governance, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Tunisia

Year: 2018

Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East

Citation:

Moghadam, Valentine M. 2013. Modernizing Women: Gender and Social Change in the Middle East. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Author: Valentine M. Moghadam

Annotation:

Summary:
"The subject of this study is social change in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan ; its impact on women's legal status and social positions ; and women's varied responses to, and involvment in, change processes. It also deals with constructions of gender during periods of social and political change. Social change is usually described in terms of modernization, revolution, cultural challenges, and social movements. Much of the standard literature on these topics does not examine women or gender, and thus [the author] hopes this study will contribute to an appreciation of the significance of gender in the midst of change. Neither are there many sociological studies on MENA and Afghansitan or studies on women in MENA and Afghanistan from a sociological perspective. Myths and stereotypes abund regarding women, Islam, and the region, and the events of September 11 and since have only compounded them. This book is intended in part to "normalize" the Middle East by underscoring the salience of structural determinants other than religion. It focuses on the major social-change processes in the region to show how women's lives are shaped not only by "Islam" and "culture", but also by economic development, the state, class location, and the world system. Why the focus on women? It is [the author's] contention that middle-class women are consciously and unconsciously major agents of social change in the region, at the vanguard of movements for modernity, democratization and citizenship." (Summary from Google Books)

Table of contents:

1. Recasting the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan

2. Economic development, state policy, and women's employment

3. Reforms, revolutions, and the woman question

4. Patriarchy, and the changing family

5. Islamist movements and women's responses

6. Iran: from Islamization to Islamic feminism, and beyond?

7. Afghanistan: revolution, reaction, and attempted reconstruction

8. All that is solid melts into air.

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Development, Economies, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Livelihoods, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Religion Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Iran

Year: 2013

A Gender Analysis of Peace Agreements and Transitional Documents in Libya

Citation:

Forster, Robert. 2019. A Gender Analysis of Peace Agreements and Transitional Documents in Libya, 2011-2018. UN Women. 

Author: Robert Forster

Annotation:

Summary:
“In this Spotlight, we review 26 peace agreements and transition documents signed in Libya between 2011 and 2018, assessing how they provide for the inclusion of women and gender. There are different notions of how to analyse gender in peace agreements and peace processes (see Box 1). Here we review when and how women and gender are explicitly mentioned in the agreements, and how some key areas relevant to gender equality are dealt with.

The analysis primarily focuses on two documents, the Constitutional Declaration of 2011 and the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA) of 2015. Together, these documents were to function as Libya’s interim constitution for the transitional period. Even though the LPA was not formally adopted by Libyan political institutions, both documents provide a framework for ongoing formal peace talks. The Spotlight goes on to provide an overview of eight intercommunal local agreements as well as ten localised ceasefire agreements (see summary of agreements in Appendix). The analysis concludes that while there are increased references to women and their participation in Libya’s main transitional documents over time, specific provisions for women are ad hoc across Libya’s national and local peace processes; there is little evidence of a gender sensitive approach and none of the agreements are fully gender responsive or gender inclusive (see Box 1 for definitions)” (Forster 2019, 2).

Topics: Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Peace Processes Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Libya

Year: 2019

Building Resilient Societies: The Relevance of UNSCR 1325 in Egypt's Political Transition

Citation:

Nasser, Salma. 2018.  "Building Resilient Societies: The Relevance of UNSCR 1325 in Egypt's Political Transition." Journal of International Women's Studies 19 (6): 35-52.

Author: Salma Nasser

Abstract:

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and 1820 and the more recent 1888, 1889, 1960, 2106, 2122 and 2242 reflect a rights-based approach to human security with a focus on the prevention of violence against women and girls and fostering their active and meaningful participation in public life in conflict and post conflict contexts. This is a particularly important framework in the African context where, over the past 5 years alone, conflict has plagued over 18 countries and has had devastating socio-economic impacts on women and led to the weakening of justice systems and social norms, which at the best of times secure minimum protection for women. In 2011 the North of the continent boiled over with political unrest which culminated with civil war in some countries. A notable phenomenon is that even in countries that escaped the predicament of armed conflict, women were subject to many of the same threats. As such, while UNSCR 1325 addresses the protection of women in times of armed conflict and peace building, provisions are still relevant in cases of political transition such as that of Egypt where there have been serious challenges to security, justice and accountability. The institutional framework in place for protecting women in conflict calls for their integration into the ensuing decision making process and inclusive dialogue is the only way to develop resilient and effective institutions for societies in transition. This paper will present a case study of lessons that could be learnt from UNSCR 1325 in terms of protecting women and girls from violence; ensuring the mainstreaming of gender perspectives in national policies; and increasing the participation of women in decisionmaking and political transition processes.

Keywords: UNSCR 1325, women's rights, Violence against women, political transition, Egypt, peace building

Topics: Armed Conflict, Civil Wars, Conflict, Gender, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, International Organizations, Justice, Peacebuilding, Political Participation, Post-Conflict, Rights, Security, Human Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325, UNSCR 1820, UNSCR 1888, UNSCR 1889, UNSCR 1960, UNSCR 2106, UNSCR 2122, UNSCR 2242 Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa, Asia, Middle East Countries: Egypt

Year: 2018

Gender in Human Rights and Transitional Justice

Citation:

Lahai, John Idris, and Khanyisela Moyo, ed. 2018. Gender in Human Rights and Transitional Justice. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Authors: John Idriss Lahai, Khanyisela Moyo

Annotation:

Summary:
This volume counters one-sided dominant discursive representations of gender in human rights and transitional justice, and women’s place in the transformations of neoliberal human rights, and contributes a more balanced examination of how transitional justice and human rights institutions, and political institutions impact the lives and experiences of women. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the contributors to this volume theorize and historicize the place of women’s rights (and gender), situating it within contemporary country-specific political, legal, socio-cultural and global contexts. Chapters examine the progress and challenges facing women (and women’s groups) in transitioning countries: from Peru to Argentina, from Kenya to Sierra Leone, and from Bosnia to Sri Lanka, in a variety of contexts, attending especially to the relationships between local and global forces. (Summary from Palgrave Macmillan)

Table of Contents:

1. Gender in Human Rights and Transitional Justice

2. Feminism during Social and Political Repression in Egypt: Making or Breaking Resistance Through Legal Activism

3. Power, Prejudice and Transitional Constitution-Making In Kenya: The Gender of Law and Religious Politics in Reproductive Choice

4. Civil Society and the Regulation of Laws Against Gender Violence in Timor-Leste

5. Addressing Violence Against Women Through Legislative Reform In States Transitioning From The Arab Spring

6. Human Rights Frameworks and Women’s Rights In Post-Transitional Justice Sierra Leone

7. Engendering Justice: The Promotion of Women in Post-Conflict and Post-Transitional Criminal Justice Institutions

8. Justice and Reparations Policies in Peru and Argentine: Towards The De-legitimization of Sexual Violence

9. Women Between War Scylla and Nationalist Charybdis: Legal Interpretations of Sexual Violence in Countries of Former Yugoslavia.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gender-Based Violence, Governance, Post-conflict Governance, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Rights, Reproductive Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa, MENA, East Africa, North Africa, West Africa, Americas, South America, Asia, Middle East, Europe, Balkans, Oceania Countries: Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Peru, Sierra Leone, Timor-Leste, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2018

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