The State of Women's Rights in the Middle East

Monday, March 18, 2013

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood hold prayers in Tahir Square ahead of the first anniversary of the revolution on January 24, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images/Getty)

Last week, the Muslim Brotherhood publicly affirmed its longstanding fundamental views on women for the first time since the party came to power under President Mohamed Morsi.

In response to a proposed United Nations declaration to condemn violence against women, the Brotherhood issued a statement asserting that wives should not have the right to file legal complaints against their husbands for rape, that daughters should not have the same inheritance rights as sons, and that the husband must have "guardianship" over his wife, recommending the "husband's consent in matters like travel, work or use of contraception."

These views are largely derisive among women's rights activists, who have faced an uphill battle to secure safety and freedom for women in the Middle East. But the views of the Brotherhood are embedded in traditionalist culture, and many conservative Egyptian women support the doctrine.

Hafsa Halawa is an Egyptian lawyer and former employee of the National Democratic Institute.


Hafsa Halawa

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman

Comments [4]

Nathan from NY

Alright, I agree that this choice is wrong, but this article is also a bit biased, and is trying to twist the story a bit to make it more interesting. This brotherhood doesn't represent the thoughts of Islam as a whole, they are just an organization under Islam. Also, not every middle eastern nation hates women. Most of them have rules that oppress women, but laws such as women can drive and must be covered head to toe is only seen in Saudi Arabia. Still, that region does tend to repress women too much, and I feel that the nations that do so need to be addressed.

Feb. 24 2014 06:23 PM
CK from New York

I am so tired of this backward, sexist attitude. I think the best thing would be to have women in charge of all of these countries. Enough men keeping wars going, keeping women under their heels, grabbing for power while the children starve and lack education. Enough.

Mar. 18 2013 03:42 PM
larry fisher from brooklyn, n.y.

The motherhood has got to sit down with the brotherhood and introduce them to the sisterhood

Mar. 18 2013 02:38 PM
dlm23564 from Brooklyn

There seems to be an excuse for why President Obama's foreign policy is failing in every country - yet we keep hearing how adept his foreign policy is.

I wish we would hear more on how women are denied equal rights. News organizations frequently choose to ignore the plight of women in these countries out of fear of insulting islam. Abuse of women should not be able to hide under a religious cloak.

Mar. 18 2013 12:06 PM

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