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Cuvillier Verlag

Legal Reform in Women’s Rights

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Legal Reform in Women’s Rights (English shop)

A Comparative Study between Jordan and Bahrain Concerning Citizenship and Political Participation

Rania Al-Rabadi (Author)

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ISBN-13 (Hard Copy) 9783954042678
ISBN-13 (eBook) 9783736942677
Language English
Page Number 180
Lamination of Cover matt
Edition 1. Aufl.
Publication Place Göttingen
Place of Dissertation Berlin
Publication Date 2012-11-08
General Categorization Dissertation
Departments Social sciences
Keywords Comparative, Gender Studies, Women's Rights, Legal, Social, political
URL to External Homepage http://pw-portal.de/rezension/37126-legal-reform-in-womens-rights-a-comparative-study-between-jordan-and-bahrain-concerning-citizenship-and-political-participation-45256
Description

Liberal Feminism has made a strong point that women’s equality with men can be achieved best through the establishment of civil and political rights through legal reform and liberal legislation. This offers a political agenda that can work in existing democratic systems and effect change from within, and as such is closer to practice and women’s immediate needs than the more radical approaches of feminism. This study sets out to put the premise of liberal feminism to develop an argument about the cases I want to study because of applications need. This is first operationalised through a concept of liberal citizenship, which is then compared to the legal and real situation in two Arab countries, which have established liberal women’s rights.

Both, Jordan and Bahrain grant complete political and economic rights to women in their liberal constitutions. Both countries have made legislation efforts and reforms to bring women’s equality in the countries’ laws and to end discrimination against women as agreed to in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), to which both countries are party. The two countries share several political features, both are Arab countries with the political system of monarchy; both have Islam as the main religion and both endorse Shari’a law as part of the legal system. A key difference is that Bahrain has a Sunni-Shi’ite split, whereas in Jordan there are only Sunni.

The research presented in this study employs the qualitative comparatives methodology by Sotirios Sarantakos. The comparison between both countries has been made according to a set of categories which based on the field study. This way the theoretical conclusions regarding the two cases are compared by identifying the similarities and differences. The primary field data comes from nine elite interviews in Jordan and seven in Bahrain; and from parliament debate records, newspaper articles, reports of organisations and other grey literature documents. All original material in Arabic has been translated to English. Research in Bahrain is rather difficult and particularly concerning women’s rights. By this and also by conducting a comparative study of Arab countries the thesis fills research gaps.

The core finding is that the liberalist promise of women’s equality from legal rights is stopped short by the dual legal system of the countries. The liberal constitutions coexist with Shari’a interpretation control of family life. This reproduces the well known division of public and private sphere. Thus, while women have full political and economic rights on the paper, it is difficult for them to practice and exercise these rights in reality. They have the right to run for office, but are rarely elected due to bias against women. They have the right to work and education, but many graduates do not find a job and many working women cannot control the earned money but have to yield it to their husbands. The failure to wrest control of social rights from religious clergymen obsoletes many reforms aimed to empower women.

Three empirical chapters present detailed analysis on specific laws and bylaws, on political processes and parliamentary procedures, on the intertwinement of societal bias and stereotypes with legal arrangements and reforms, of family and domestic power structures with political participation in the public sphere; on working conditions of women, the role of NGOs and international actors such as the UN, and finally recommendations to better women’s situation in Jordan and Bahrain – based both on the content analysis of documents and on insights given by members of the political elites including members of parliament, lawyers, NGO representatives and women’s activists.


Rezension

Legal Reform in Women's Rights: A Comparative Study between Jordan and Bahrain concerning Citizenship and Political Participation
ttingen: Cuvillier Verlag 2012; 178 S.; 29,70 €; ISBN 978-3-95404-267-8

Diss. FU Berlin; Begutachtung: C. Harders, B. Kerchner. – In mehreren Staaten der arabischen Welt sind verfassungsrechtliche Reformen zur Gleichstellung der Frauen erfolgreich angestrengt worden. Dennoch hat insbesondere der Arab Human Development Report (AHDR) von 2005, der seinen Schwerpunkt auf Gender legte, gezeigt, dass es immer noch erhebliche geschlechtsspezifische Diskriminierungen gibt. Wie Rania Farah Yacoub Al‑Rabadi in ihrer Arbeit einleitend aufzeigt, stehen die empirischen Befunde des AHDR in Kontrast zur Realität und zu den Annahmen des liberalen Feminismus. Dieser geht davon aus, dass die Stellung der Frauen vorrangig durch legislative Reformen und politische Rechte verbessert werden kann und sollte. Daher unternimmt es die Autorin, die Diskrepanz zwischen rechtlicher und tatsächlicher Situation in Jordanien und Bahrain vor dem Hintergrund der liberalfeministischen Annahmen qualitativ vergleichend zu analysieren. Hierfür hat sie insgesamt 16 Expert_inneninterviews (neun in Jordanien, sieben in Bahrain) geführt sowie Parlamentsdebatten, Zeitungsartikel und unabhängige Berichte ausgewertet. In ihrer recht schmalen Dissertation macht Al‑Rabadi die sowohl in Bahrain als auch in Jordanien vorherrschende Annahme, dass die Familie ausschließlich der Privatsphäre zugeordnet ist und damit von allgemein verbindlichen Entscheidungen ausgeschlossen bleiben muss, als maßgeblichen Grund für die immer noch nicht erlangte tatsächliche Gleichstellung der Frau aus. Denn die innerhalb der Familie (aber auch in politischen Institutionen) bestehenden patriarchalen Strukturen weisen den Frauen die Mutter‑ und Hausfrauenrolle zu. Darüber hinaus benennt Al‑Rabadi traditionelle Religionsauslegungen und das bei Frauen bisher nur lückenhaft vorhandene Wissen als weitere Gründe dafür, dass sie ihre verfassungsrechtlich zuerkannten politischen Teilhaberechte und ihren Bürgerinnenstatus nicht nutzen (können). Entsprechend finden die Annahmen des liberalen Feminismus nach Ansicht der Autorin dort ihre Grenzen, wo die verfassungsrechtliche Gleichstellung auf die Anwendung der Scharia und die patriarchale Kontrolle der Familie trifft.

Ines Weber (IW)
M. A., Politikwissenschaftlerin Kommunikationswissenschaftlerin, Psychologin), wiss. Mitarbeiterin, Institut für Sozialwissenschaften, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel.