Conference Report: The Evolving Roles of Women in the Arab World
Although women were at the forefront of the Arab uprisings, the outcome of their efforts remains uncertain. In order to better evaluate the status of women in the Arab world following the Arab Awakening, the Women and Human Rights in the Middle East Program of Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, supported by the Kelly Day Endowment on the Status of Women and Human Rights in the Middle East, hosted a conference on April 24, 2014, titled “The Evolving Roles of Women in the Arab World.” Acknowledging the fact that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are undergoing a major transformation not only on the political level but also on the societal and ideological levels, the goal of the conference was to shed light on women’s rights in transitional MENA in the political, economic, and private realms. The conference featured leading regional and international scholars on women in the Arab world with expertise in political science, economics, sociology, anthropology, religious law, and history. The studies presented at the conference were conducted in 12 different countries of the Middle East and North Africa and covered topics ranging from domestic violence to citizenship. Each of the participants produced papers showcasing new research and provided policy recommendations for promoting women’s rights in the region.