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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

Introduction

Summary

The introduction outlines the major questions in the book and how they are addressed, including a discussion of research design and methods. This book explores the overarching question of why authoritarian regimes adopt women’s rights with the recognition that both the question and answer can only be context-specific. To that end, the book explains why Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria have converged in their adoption of women’s rights legal reforms. It explores why they differ from most of their neighbors in the Arab Middle East, with whom they share a religion, language, and history, when it comes to adopting more women’s rights reforms earlier and at a faster pace. To understand how this happened and why women’s rights have been so central to the major developments in the region, I argue that one has also to take into consideration not only the events that occurred, regional dynamics, but also the symbolic dimensions of politics, which is the battlefield upon which many of the struggles have been enacted.