Women’s Rights in the Arab world

This paper offers an overview of the legal status of women in select Arab countries. It first discusses Islamic law, its main sources, and the status of women in Islamic law. The codification of law in Arab nation-states is described against a brief historical background and the paper discusses the contextual importance of Islamic law and customary law. This is followed by an explanation of how difficult it is for women to assert their rights because they have limited access to the judicial system. The paper concludes with a description of discriminatory legislation in some Arab states with special reference to the status of Islamic law. It addresses the various rights of women: when entering marriage, within marriage, to divorce, maintenance after dissolution of marriage, custody, and the transfer of citizenship to children. This paper lays no claim to presenting the complete picture. It is instead an attempt to throw light on sections and examples taken from the very complex…

Author: Anna Würth

Institutional Sponsor: gtz and Federal Ministry for Economic Coordination and Development