On Being a Woman in the Arab World: Why Our Lebano-Chauvinism Is Not Helping Us

The Institute of Middle East Studies

By Martin Accad

“Mabrouk Lebanon! Congrats!” We ranked number 16 out of 22 Arab states on Thomson Reuters Foundation’s third annual poll indexing women’s rights in the Arab World. We can pat ourselves on the back for not being as bad as Egypt, ranking 22nd, thanks to the rise to power of religious radicals there after the revolution. We’re a bit better than Saudi Arabia too (ranking 20th), which apparently has been making progress, with 30 women out of 150 people serving on its largely powerless Shura Council, and despite the fact that women are still forbidden from driving in the Kingdom (topic of our November 7 post). Hey! We’re even ahead of Sudan by one point (it ranks 17th), despite the fact that Sudan’s legal minimum age for girls to marry is 10 years old, that women can legally be arrested…

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