Women in the Middle East and North Africa: A Divide between Rights and Roles

Kathrin Thomas, Michael D. Robbins

Research output: Book/ReportOther Report


Key Findings

• Across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), most publics surveyed believe women should have equal rights to men in a variety of areas including
access to university education (75 percent), employment (84 percent), and
political oce (62 percent).
• Yet, despite widespread support for women’s rights, majorities in many
Arab publics favor limiting the roles women play in society. For example,
one third believe women are as eective in public leadership compared
with men. Six-in-ten believe that the husband should have the final say in
decision making within the family.
• Unsurprisingly, men are, in general, less supportive of women’s rights and
more restrictive in their desired roles for women. Additionally, citizens with
lower levels of education are often more likely to hold unequal views, suggesting that as educational attainment increases across MENA, attitudes
toward women may also shift.
• Overall, these results from nationally representative public opinion surveys
carried out by the Arab Barometer imply that eorts to improve women’s
equality need to move beyond ensuring equal rights to focus on attitudinal
shifts about the roles women should play in society
Original languageEnglish
PublisherArab Barometer
Commissioning bodyArab Barometer
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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