Women’s ‘Empowerment’ and Gender Equality in the Arab World: Interpretations and Challenges

Dr. Dina Hadad
Assistant Professor of Public International Law – KILAW


Woman’s ‘Empowerment’ as a concept-has always engaged interest of development organizations locally and internationally. While being identified as a matter of socio-legal and economic facet the political and subsequent legal facets of it has been sustainably under discussed and thus a comprehensive gender equality has constantly been missed. ‘Empowerment’ became a buzzword among development professional in both governmental and nongovernmental contexts. For that looking into the available legal structure, recent changes and international initiatives efforts are tantamount to understand their promoted model of ‘Empowerment’ and its efficiency . The analysis utilizes comparative methodology to provide insight into different examples of ‘Empowerment’ through changes of some national laws that successfully lead to gender equality or not. For the purpose of this paper examples from various countries of the Arab world will be drawn upon to offer an understanding of empowerment, its interpretations with regard to gender equality and challenges intersociety.
Women empowerment in the Arab world remains a central issue in the context of development. Akin to many societies around the globe gender equality is yet to be achieved. This research will provide an introduction into the current legal stand of some Arab countries in terms of gender equality and women rights. It argues that whilst some countries made efforts to promote women empowerment as a concept and practiced throughout its policies, others have indeed some unique journeys that reflect organic and from within evolutions. Nonetheless, these efforts are yet to reflect a comprehensive structure that addresses women legal and political empowerment let alone social status. A contradiction in realities of different Arab states is nothing new since the lack of comprehensive rights-based policy making in Arab countries has contributed to the disconnect between economic growth and development challenges.

Key words: Women, Empowerment, Challenges, Gender Equality, International Development.

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