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Women in the Arab world


Status of women

Women in the Middle East 
Philip Rushworth explores the work of contemporary scholars and their understanding of the lives of women in the Middle East. 

Progress of Arab Women 
This wide-ranging report was published by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in 2004. Commentary on the report: al-Ahram Weekly; Jordan Times 

Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
Full text of the convention and background information (UN website)

Latest news about women in the Middle East

Life stories of female entertainers 
by Karin Van Nieuwkerk (extracts from A Trade Like Any Other - Female Singers and Dancers in Egypt, 1995)

Women and Islam

Women in Islam (Wikipedia)

"Exploring both sides of the gender divide"

The status of women in Islam 
By Yusuf al-Qaradawi

The status of woman in Islam 
By Jamal Badawi

The status of woman in Islam
By Dr Hammuda Abdul-Ati from “Islam in Focus”

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) 
"Information, support and a collective space for women whose lives are shaped, conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to derive from Islam."

Women in the Qur'an and Sunnah
In Islam there is no difference between men and women as far as their relationship to Allah is concerned. By Prof. Abdur Rahman Doi, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria.

Women in society
How Muslim women should conduct themselves. By Prof. Abdur Rahman Doi, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria.

Advice from one Muslim woman to another
(first published in Muslim Creed, Vol. 3 No. 2, February 1995)

Women's Liberation through Islam  
“The Muslim woman was given a role, duties and rights 1400 years ago that most women do not enjoy today, even in the West.” (jannah.org)

Gender Jihad
A discussion of "Islamic feminism" by Abdennur Prado

The distorted image of Muslim women
By a female convert to Islam

Why British women are turning to Islam 
By Lucy Berrington, 1993

Islamic feminism: what's in a name 
By Margot Badran (al-Ahram Weekly, 17 January, 2002)

Islamic feminism means justice to women
Interview with Margot Badran (The Milli Gazette, 16 January, 2004)

Feminism and Islam 
Analysis of feminism from a traditional Islamic perspective, by Maryam Jameelah (13 July, 2005)

Islamisation and its impact on democractic governance and women's rights in Islam: a feminist perspective 
by Zainah Anwar (Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy, 17 May, 2003)

Islamic traditions and the feminist movement: confrontation or cooperation?
by Dr. Lois Lamya' al Faruqi, undated, jannah.org

A declaration of the rights of women in Islamic societies 
SecularIslam.com, undated

Dress codes

Women, Islam, and Hijab
The practice of hijab comes from the Hadith, not the Qur'an. But Islam does require both men and women to dress modestly. (Institute of Islamic Information and Education, Chicago)

Hijab: suppression or liberation?
(Institute of Islamic Information and Education)

Hijab and Muslim women
A Canadian-born Muslim woman descibes her experience of wearing a traditional hijab scarf. While some people see it as a symbol of oppressed womanhood, she finds it liberating.

An Islamic perspective on women's dress  
(Muslim Women's League)

Women's dress in dangerous times 
(Muslim Women's League)

To veil or mot to veil, that is the question 
(Muslim Women's League)

An identity reduced to burka  
(Muslim Women's League)

Marriage and childbirth

Rules for marriage 
By Prof. Abdur Rahman Doi, Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria.

The marriage challenge for single Muslim career women 
(Muslim Women's League)

Who practises polygamy?
(Institute of Islamic Information and Education)

Marriage conventions in Taiz - Yemen Times

Role of the mukathiya at weddings
The mukathiya or shari'a is a woman assigned - in traditional Yemeni weddings - to beautify the bride and advise her on certain health and sexual matters. (Yemen Times, 8 Feb 1999)

Divorced from justice 
Women's unequal access to divorce in Egypt (Human Rights Watch, December 2004)

An Islamic perspective on divorce 
(Muslim Women's League)

Reflections on marriage and divorce in America  
(Muslim Women's League)

Contraception in Yemen
by Dr Najeebah Ba-Hubaish, National Program Officer, UNFPA (Yemen Times, 18.1.99)

Marie Stopes International in Yemen
by Jane Diamond (British-Yemeni Society Journal, November 1998)

Infant and child mortality in Yemen
by Ahmed al-Barakani and Ahmed Abd al-Rub
(Yemen Times, 4.1.99)

Murshidat, midwives and nurses: women transforming health care and social relations in Yemen
by Delores M. Walters (Yemen Update 40. 1998: 32)

Violence against women

Honour killing (Wikipedia)

Honor killings: an Islamic perspective  
(Muslim Women's League)

Beirut hosts 'honour killing' conference  
BBC, 13 May, 2001

Arab honor's price: a woman's blood 
New York Times, June 20, 1999

An Islamic perspective on violence against women  
(Muslim Women's League)

Domestic violence  
(Muslim Women's League)

An Islamic perspective on female genital mutilation  
(Muslim Women's League)

Violence against women 
UNIFEM campaign report, 1999 (PDF)

Violence against women information kit 
UNIFEM, 1999 (Word document)

Jordan-based organisation to combat violence against women


Sex and sexuality in Islam  
(Muslim Women's League)

An Islamic perspective on sexuality  
(Muslim Women's League)

Bint el Nas 
Website for "women who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer".

Safra Project  
Project working on "issues relating to lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender women who identify as Muslim religiously and/or culturally"

Organisation for Palestinian gay women

Women's history

Women in Ancient Yemen
Women – not just the Queen of Sheba – had an important role. By David Warburton (Yemen Update 36. 1995: 23, 33)

Women in colonial Algeria 
A short bibliography

The status of women in ancient Egyptian society  
by Joyce Tyldesley

Women in the ancient Near East  
A select bibliography ( Oriental Institute Research Archives)

The Egyptian economy  and non-royal women  
William A. Ward, 1995. Department of Egyptology, Brown University

Egyptian women in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt 
The economic and legal activities of women in Demotic texts. Alexandra O'Brien, 1996. University of Chicago.

Women in pre-Islamic Arabia   
(Muslim Women's League)


In the women's section


In the diversity section


Books from Amazon

Sexual Ethics and Islam 
Feminist Reflections on Qur'an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence 
by Kecia Ali. Paperback, 2006. ISBN: 1851684565. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Inside the Gender Jihad
Women's Reform in Islam 
by Amina Wadud. 
Paperback, 2006. ISBN: 1851684638. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Believing Women in Islam
Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur'an
by Asma Barlas.
Paperback, 2002. ISBN: 0292709048. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

The Veil and the Male Elite
Fatima Mernissi, Mary Jo Lakeland (translator).
Paperback, 1993. ISBN: 0201632217. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Price of Honour
Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World by Jan Goodwin
Paperback, 1995. ISBN: 0751512869. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Women and Gender in Islam
Historical Roots of a Modern Debate
by Leila Ahmed.
Paperback, 1993. ISBN: 0300055838. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk

Women Embracing Islam
Gender and Conversion in the West 
by Karin Van Nieuwkerk
Paperback, 2006. ISBN: 0292713029. Purchase from amazon.com or amazon.co.uk


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Last revised on 05 August, 2015