POMED Notes: “After the Arab Uprisings: Women on Rights, Religion, and Rebuilding”
Gallup has released a report titled “After the Arab Uprisings: Women on Rights, Religion, and Rebuilding,” based on extensive polling in several Arab countries. Dalia Mogahed, executive director and senior analyst with the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, presented the findings today.
For full event notes, continue reading below or click here for the PDF version.
Mogahed began by pointing out that women were at the forefront of the Arab uprisings, and large percentages of protesters were women, yet today many of the same women fear for their future post-Arab Spring. Egypt is the only country where women are more optimistic today than they were before the uprisings. However, Mogahed reported, this does not simply indicate a fear of Islamists, because men polled in the region reflected similar trends. Also, support for certain political parties, including Islamists, was spread evenly among men and women.
Mogahed also noted that women and men are equally likely to favor Sharia as a source of legislation, and higher religiosity among women does not reflect a lack of education or low income. Women in general are more likely to support women’s rights, but more educated men have a higher level support for women’s rights. The term “women’s rights” represented a series of questions regarding the right to divorce, to hold any job, to education, and legal status equal with men. While women reported feeling less safe now than before the uprisings, it isn’t clear why, as reported crime in most Arab countries polled is actually down since a year ago. Mogahed speculated that this insecurity may be more perceived than real, although an audience member asked if this was perhaps related to the issue of sexual harassment, which is addressed in the report.
In general, progressive views on women’s issues in Arab countries are linked to economic and human development more than anything else. Additionally, Mogahed said, sources such as the UN Women Report show that women around the world are concerned with similar issues, regardless of culture or religion. For that reason, the report provides policy recommendations that focus on broad development efforts and discourage looking at women’s issues in isolation. The report also recommends that policymakers take heed of Arab women’s own priorities, such as economic development, security, and job creation.