Source: Foreign Policy in Focus
Amid ongoing battles over the shape of political systems in the Arab world, intense sexual violence against women in those countries, and protest movements by women fighting for their rights, advancing the causes of Arab women is of utmost importance. Yet international human rights advocates often confront the struggles of women in Arab countries far too simplistically.
In the work of international agencies, policy makers, activists, and the media, two approaches predominate. The first is “culture-blaming,” in which Arab culture or the Islamic religion is seen as the cause of women’s oppression. The second defines women’s rights in terms of individual political rights. This approach pursues women’s equality under the law, stressing constitutional rights and participation in official politics.