A Background to Women’s Rights in the MENA Region
Gender equality is a fundamental human right and an imperative foundation which lays the groundwork for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. The development of women’s rights in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has seen much progress and obstacles over the past decade. However, the unequal status of women stands out as a particularly challenging problem.
Following “International Women’s Day” last month, this article provides a snapshot of the development of women’s rights in the MENA region as of April 2023. MENA countries include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The MENA region has a reputation for struggling with gender equality. Therefore, this article focuses on this region. However, it is important to emphasize that the MENA region is not the only place women experience inequality. Gender inequality is also seen in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and North America. Undoubtedly, women continue to face discrimination and significant barriers to fully realizing their rights worldwide.
Any Progress in the MENA Region?
Governments are developing stronger laws and policies to support women’s rights.
Significant laws, policies, and programming developments have focused on gender equality within the MENA region. Moreover, women’s representation in government has increased.
Many countries in the region have established “national women’s machinery”. This machinery is used in government offices, departments, commissions, or ministries. All these provide government leadership and support in achieving gender equality.
Furthermore, there have been notable improvements in education and health within gender-related indices. There has been an increase in specialized programming to support women’s rights and empowerment in this region.
Women struggle to uphold their rights in places like Palestine. It is international human rights laws and conventions which are helping women in advocating for and strengthening their fight. Since the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) by the State of Palestine in March 2014, civil society organizations and women human rights defenders have publicly advocated for the implementation of the Convention and the passing of a Family Protection Bill, pending since the early 2000s, which would specifically address gender-based discrimination and violence. In turn, this will help to edge women closer towards gender equality in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Women are increasing their role in civil society and advocating their rights
Women are increasing their engagement in civil society. Women’s and youth feminist civil society has started to dominate the political scene in advocating for and securing gains. In Iran, millions of young women took to the street following Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody for improperly wearing her hijab. These women risked their lives to change the system. Many were arrested and beaten and now face the death penalty for speaking out. This demonstrates women’s power in standing up against authoritarian regimes and fighting oppression.
The Iranian government is brutally repressing women’s voices who courageously stand up for their freedom. The UN has called Iran a “gender apartheid” on women.
Women’s civil society actively engages internationally with the “Women’s Peace and Security” agenda. Remarkably, women activists have testified before the United Nations Security Council. The UN Women highlighted the gender impact of conflict and occupation on women’s rights.
What Obstacles Hinder the Development of Women’s Rights in the MENA Region?
Women face many inequalities within the MENA society, correlating them as second-class citizens with little to no protection from violence. The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded existing inequalities. Moreover, factors significantly reducing space for constructive civil society engagement with governments include ongoing conflict, the revival of extremist religious groups, and increased political turmoil. These international crises created many setbacks in passing long-term legal change.
Poverty & gender-based violence
The 2022 global poverty update from the World Bank reports that the MENA region is the only place worldwide where the extreme poverty rate increased between 2010 and 2020. Poverty has a detrimental impact on women’s rights.
Gender-based violence is also one of the main challenges facing women in the region today, with devastating effects on their health and well-being and their economic and civic participation.
A striking example of gender-based violence was in 2022 when the Israeli forces shot dead Al Jazeera’s journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in the occupied West Bank. Abu Akleh, a longtime TV correspondent for Al Jazeera Arabic, was killed on the 11th of May 2022 while covering Israeli army raids in Jenin in the northern occupied West Bank.
Read more: Who is Shireen Abu Akleh?
Women have no right to nationality in the MENA region
The MENA region has the highest concentration of gender-discriminatory nationality laws. An estimated 50% of the 25 countries in MENA deny women equal rights to pass nationality to their children.
Algeria is the only country in the region with nationality laws upholding complete gender equality, including women’s right to confer nationality on their children and noncitizen spouse on an equal basis with men. Thus, gender discrimination in nationality laws is one of the primary causes of statelessness in the MENA region, in addition to causing several other human rights violations.
Lebanon, Kuwait, and Qatar deny women the right to confer nationality to their children and spouses in all circumstances. Other States, including Bahrain, Jordan, Libya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), deny women the right to confer their nationality to children in most circumstances.
Malnutrition in women and girls increases by 25%
Malnutrition in women and girls increased by 25% in crisis-hit countries in the MENA region between 2020-2022. Over a billion women and adolescent girls are malnourished in the world. This has detrimental health, economic and well-being impacts. Most women and girls affected by this statistic live in the MENA region. Both local and global crises in 2023 could exacerbate the development of women and girls living there. Rising poverty and inequities increase the chances that people will turn to cheap, ultra-processed, unhealthy foods.
“Addressing malnutrition in women and girls is essential to reduce the gender health gap”Amira Ghouaibi, Project Lead, Women’s Health Initiative, Shaping the Future of Health and Healthcare, World Economic Forum.
Therefore, the world is making slow progress. Issues like soaring food prices, climate change and the lasting impact of the COVID-19 pandemic risk making the nutrition crisis an even more significant problem in 2023. Nutrition is a widely overlooked issue; coordinated access and policy intervention are urgently needed.
Survey Findings Provide Unprecedented Insights into Gender Attitudes in MENA Region
Despite incremental progress and the advancements mentioned above, gender attitudes across the region continue to fall behind internationally recognized standards.
The opinions and attitudes of citizens across the MENA region were recorded in the latest Arab Barometer survey from October 2021 to July 2022. This is the largest publically available survey published since the onset of COVID. Its results were shocking across 12 MENA countries, which collectively are home to 80 per cent of the citizen population in the Arab world. The findings give an unprecedented insight into the everyday lives of these citizens.
The survey showed a plurality of citizens either agree or strongly agree with the following statement:
“In general, men are better at political leadership than women.”
More than three-quarters of Algerians (76%) support this view, as do majorities of respondents in:
- Libya (69%),
- Iraq (69%),
- Jordan (66%),
- Egypt (66%),
- Palestine (65%), and
- Kuwait (65%).
Surprisingly, only in Lebanon and Tunisia do most of the population disagree or strongly disagree with the above statement.
Moreover, governments’ patriarchal character has effectively prevented efforts to address negative cultural and social constructs against women meaningfully. This limits the ability to change prevailing gender power relations and social roles qualitatively.
The development of women’s rights in the MENA region remains unresolved.
It does not reflect the commitments to the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals. Incremental progress has been documented, yet the pace is slow. Recent survey results showing gender discriminatory ideologies across the region show we still have much work to do to educate developing countries on gender equality.
Gender-based violence, lack of equal opportunities for economic activities or fundamental rights, and deprivation from political participation and representation have been the challenges facing this region.
Women are rising across the MENA region and fighting for their rights to be heard and implemented. Remarkably, women are igniting a powerful revolution against many corrupt governments, and their strength and courage are both admirable and breathtaking.
To the peoples of the world: Israel is Carrying out a holocaust against Palestinian families
Yes, Israel is not sending Palestinians to gas chambers. But Israel is bringing Auschwitz and Mauthhausen to Palestinian homes, neighborhood, hospitals and mosques.
The title of this brief article is not a hyperbole or a dramatic overstatement meant to attract attention or gain sympathy. It is rather a reflection of reality.
Indeed, if a holocaust is about annihilating people, especially civilians and Palestinian families, the Israeli army, the Wehrmacht of our time, has been exterminating entire Palestinian families-the father, the mother and all the children.
We are not speaking about one isolated incident or a few incidents where one stray missile hit a home inadvertently or children killed as a result of collateral damage.
We are rather talking about carrying out a real holocaust against Palestinian families, an official policy endorsed and pursued by the government of Israel to wipe out numerous Palestinian households for the purpose of bringing the Palestinians to their knees.
This is Israel’s way of wreaking shock and awe on the defenseless and helpless Palestinians.
So far, more than 25 thousand entire Gaza households have been targeted by Israeli bombing. More than 12 thousands have been killed half of them are children and women.
Just imagine your own family being annihilated by a missile launched from high altitude. This nightmare has effectively become a routine experience in Gaza.
Israel today is emulating the Nazis and other criminal offenders throughout history. Don’t invoke the mantra of anti-Semitism. In the final analysis, when Jews think, behave and act like the Nazis thought, behaved and acted, they (the Jews) become Nazis themselves, pure and simple.
Yes, I do recognize there are many kind-hearted Jews who reject this Nazi-like savagery. None the less, we must call the spade a spade. These atrocities are being enthusiastically supported by the vast majority of Israelis, including ordinary people, intellectuals and rabbis. Israel-2023 does have much in common with Nazi-Germany. Claiming otherwise would be both dishonest and malicious.
Israel, a notorious professional liar whose agents control western media outlets from Sydney to California, is misleading the international community as to what is really happening in the Gaza Strip.
A regional military superpower thanks to unrestricted American backing and support, Israel is simply waging a war of extermination against a thoroughly persecuted people whose only “crime” is its enduring vigor and longing for freedom from the shackles of Talmudic Jewish Nazism, a Satanic ideology which views all humanity-save Jews-as animals whose lives have absolutely no sanctity.
There is no doubt that the ongoing Israeli rampage of murder and terror is an expression of that genocidal Talmudic mentality. It is a mindset that is even more nefarious than the Nazi ideology.
We Palestinians have been at the receiving end of Jewish criminality and murderousness for several decades. We know it too well and need no one to give us lectures on “Israel’s civility and humanity”
In the final analysis, a country that murders thousands of children and other innocent civilians rather knowingly and deliberately in order to create deterrence is neither civilized nor humane. It is tantamount to fornicating with truth to call Israel humane and civilized.
The truth of the matter is that Israel is a diabolical Judeo-Nazi entity that has much in common with the Third Rich.
Yes, Israel is not sending Palestinians to gas chambers. But Israel is bringing Auschwitz to Palestinian homes, neighborhoods and streets. Israel is carrying out a real holocaust against innocent Palestinian families.
This is not really a war. War is fought between armies. The Palestinians don’t have an army, or navy or air force. The Palestinians simply can not protect their own children from overwhelming barbarianism, played out in full view of the entire world.
Yes, there have been projectiles fired on Jewish colonies from the Gaza Strip, but these projectiles are essentially innocuous from the military view point as evident from the nearly zero casualties incurred by Israelis.
Indeed, when there is one dead on one side and 300 on the other side, including 50 children and babies, in addition thousands of maimed civilians and swathes of pornographic destruction of property, we are not really talking about war, even an asymmetrical war. We are actually talking about a real massacre, a massacre that is reminiscent of the time when the Nazis ganged up on European Jewry 70 years ago.
This very real massacre, holocaust, wouldn’t have been carried out had it not been for the flaccidity and leniency and silence displayed in Israel’s face by the bulk of the international community.
This is not to mention the connivance, collusion and conspiratorial roles played by several criminal states and governments, including the United States, a majority of European governments and especially the whore-like Sissi regime in Cairo which is shamelessly and brazenly siding with Israel against the Palestinian people.
But never mind, another massacre, another blitzkrieg, another conspiracy won’t finish our people off. It is our kismet that we must die in order to survive.
But those in Washington and London and Cairo who are watching rather passively, probably gleefully, as our children are being incinerated and murdered at the hands of the children, grand children and great-grand children of the holocaust, will one day pay the price for their murderous complicity and ignominy.
We will not forgive or forget.
Israel: A criminal state par excellance
In its exaggerated self-infatuation and excessive narcissism, Israel, a criminal state par excellence, often claims it is light upon mankind.
Zionist Jews, who falsely claim allegiance to the prophetic traditions of ancient Israel, are actually mostly atheists.
In fact, Zionism has more in common with the most infamous paragons of evil throughout history than with such Hebrew luminaries as the Prophet Moses, Aaron, Jacob, Joseph, David, and Solomon.
Indeed, ever since its misbegotten birth in 1948, a birth fraught with crimes against humanity, Israel’s modus operandi has been an uninterrupted series of atrocities, oppression, persecution, inequity, and racism.
Thus, Israel, A criminal state par excellence, is also a great falsifier of truth, history by claiming a higher moral ground vis-à-vis the Palestinians, its largely-unwept victims who are still crying to the seventh heaven for justice.
Israel is already starving and tormenting 1.6 million Gazans, denying them food, clean water, and other necessities of life. The 17-year draconian siege is apparently meant to punish Gazans for electing Hamas which simply refuses to recognize Israel for religious and moral reasons. The international community sought to overlook Israel’s real crimes against humanity inflicted repeatedly on some two million helpless Palestinians languishing under a N-a-z-i-like siege imposed and maintained by Israel.
Israel portrays herself as a beacon of light in a sea of dictatorship, tyranny, and oppression,
What Israel, a criminal state par Excellance, refuses to tell the world, however, is the fact that the Jewish state through its ubiquitous tentacles in America, Europe and elsewhere to enable, shield, sustain, and support tyrannical regimes in the region such as the Sissi police state in Egypt, the feudal regimes in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain.
Israel, a notorious professional liar whose agents control western media outlets from Sydney to California, is misleading the international community as to what is really happening in Jerusalem and in the Gaza Strip.
Israel, ruled by supremacist and megalomaniac Jews who think that no country or entity under the sun has a right to criticize Israel’s appalling maltreatment of the Palestinians, believes it has an unending free season on its victims.
Those are the Nazi-minded ideologues who are indoctrinated in Talmudic Jewish supremacy and who believe that the non-Jews lives have no sanctity , those are the Talmudic thugs who believe that the Palestinians must either be expelled or massacred .
As to its victims, Israel seeks always to demonize and dehumanize them so that the world will react indifferently if not callously when Israel murders them, expels them from their homes, steals their land and property as well as demolish their homes, a nearly daily callous practice the state of the Jews carries out in the West Bank.
Israel was born in sin. It will always be a sinful state, no matter what we read in the New York Times and the Washington Post or what we see on CNN and Fox News.
World passively watching as Israel perpetrates open-ended massacre in Gaza
The Israeli army, which can be called the Jewish Wehrmacht given its Nazi-like behavior, continues to pound the Gaza Strip from ground, sea and air. According to sources in Gaza, virtually all targets hit so far are civilians.
As many as 3500 Palestinians, virtually all of them civilians, have been reported killed so far. Thousands others were injured, many sustaining life-threatening wounds.
The scenes of mutilated and maimed children, some of whose bodies are seen protruding through the rubble of their homes, destroyed by missiles fired by American-supplied F-16 fighter jets, seem to verify the view that Israel is targeting Palestinian civilians in Gaza knowingly and deliberately.
Israeli leaders and military officials are openly gloating over the high death toll among Palestinian civilians. They blame Hamas for the orgy of killing. However, virtually all Palestinians don’t buy the Israeli logice.
As we all know, this is not the first time Israel indulges in such war crimes.
Israel has always been a regular perpetrator of war crimes . Indeed, one would exaggerate very little by arguing that Israel itself is a war crime or a crime against humanity.
I am not going to spend time refuting Israeli hasbara lies, blaming Hamas for the latest conflagration. Having been a vigilant observer of Israeli behavior for several decade , I can honestly argue that honesty and Israel can not really be used in the same sentence. Israel and honesty are an eternal oxymoron.
Read Also: The Myth of Israeli Democracy
As always, Israel violated the uneasy truce reached through Egyptian mediation in 2002. Israeli leaders, proceeding from the Talmudic ideology which views all non-Jews as lesser human beings or virtual animals, don’t feel bound by agreements or treaties reached with “Goyem.“
People in the west, long duped and brainwashed by Zionist propaganda, may raise they eyebrows when reading these words. But we who live with these Judeo-Nazis and have been at the receiving end of their murderousness and evilness know better.
We don’t need and won’t accept lectures about the “humanity and civility” of the N-a-z-i-s of our time.
Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza don’t constitute an existential threat to Israel, which has one of the strongest military machines in the world.
In fact, the claim that Gaza is threatening Israel is infinitely ridiculous. The thoroughly-starved and hermetically blockaded Gazans have a hard time feeding their children, let alone pose any meaningful threat to the N-a-z-i Germany of our time, a pugnacious state that more or less tightly controls the most powerful country under the sun, the United States.
It is sad and lamentable that a country of 320 million has allowed itself to be enslaved by Zionist pressure groups, hell-bent on prostituting America and eviscerating it of any semblance of morality for Israel’s sake.
Palestinians have resist Jewish terror
But the Palestinians can not take their very survival for granted. They can’t rely on the so-called international community to shield them against Jewish N-a-z-i-s-m.
Indeed, if the Palestinians don’t defend themselves, who is going to defend them? Obama? Merkel? Or Puten?
Hence, the valiant Palestinian determination to put up a semblance of resistance to the Jewish Wehrmacht. The Israeli assault on Gaza is not an assault on Hamas; It is rather a nefarious aggression against the entire Palestinian people. It is intended to break our people’s will to resist Israeli Nazism. Pure and simple.
To put the matter in a nutshell, the Palestinians in Gaza are simply defending themselves against an overwhelming evil force that is hell bent on ethnically cleansing them and stealing their motherland. Our fighters don’t fire their home-made missiles on Israel because they want to spill Jewish blood. They do it because this is the only means they possess to deter a cannibalistic enemy that can only feel good if and when it spills Palestinian blood.
Besides, the problem with Israel didn’t begin last week or last year.
Just remember that many of the people being now bombarded and murdered by the Jewish Wehrmacht are actually children, grand children and great grand children of the original Palestinian refugees that Israel massacred or brutally expelled out of their homes when the evil state was created in Palestine in 1948.
Hence, the Palestinians in Gaza can not really be terrorists if only because they were never the initiator of violence and terror. The Palestinians were living peaceably in their towns and villages, mostly leading a simple pastoral life until waves of Khazari Jews, who had no real connection with the ancient Israelites, invaded Palestine with the aid of Western countries, especially the evil empire, the United Kingdome.
Yes, it was Britain that put the venomous Jewish snake in the bed of the Palestinian child. Britain, as Noam Chomsky wisely said, can not claim innocence or argue that it didn’t know the snake was so poisonous.
Gaza Massacre: Surviving by dying
Today, Palestinians are sacrificing their lives for their freedom, dignity and survival. This is what they have always been doing from time immemorial. We are very much children of martyrs who were themselves children of martyrs. We survived despite a harsh history of plots and conspiracies that aimed to eradicate us as a people from the face of earth.
We in Gaza will survive the latest Israeli blitz as well
However, the world community ought to feel ashamed for watching the Nazi Germany of our time gang up on a defenseless people in Gaza whose only crime is that it is not part of “the holy tribe,”
This conspicuously immoral world , which doesn’t respect any modicum of respect, will surely have a precarious future. It will face ultimate demise.
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