chapter
The improvement of women’s rights in the Arab world
The importance of governing authorities
ByVickie Langohr, Amaney Jamal
Pages 22

This chapter examines three areas of women's participation in society: education, work outside the home, and women's rights in personal status laws (PSLs) and in penal codes, which affect the punishments for violence against women. It focuses on aspects of government performance in these areas, while also assessing how much other factors such as public opinion, women's non-governmental organization (NGO) activity and international pressure may also affect these outcomes. Government influence is most direct in the area of PSLs and penal codes, as becomes clear in attempts to change them in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen. The opening pages of a 2010 World Bank report on women's opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) noted three facts that illuminate the current status of women's education in the Arab world. In most Arab countries, most employed women work directly for the government through public-sector employment.