Women’s Rights in the Middle East

Alex Hamasaki, Student Intern
Last Modified: 22:40 DST, 4 April 2013

A quick update of the recent rulings on women’s rights in the Gaza Strip and Saudi Arabia.

 Hamas orders gender segregation in schools

Saudi Portrait, Photo Courtesy of Edward MusiakGAZA STRIP, Israel – Gaza’s Hamas-controlled parliament passed a law requiring separate classes in schools for boys and girls in public and private schools from the fourth grade, Aljazeera reports.

Osama Mazini, the Hamas education director, announced on Monday that the February 10th law was approved by parliament.

Article 46 bans “the mixing of students from the two sexes in educational establishments after the age of nine, and work to ‘feminise’ girls’ schools.” The law also bans males from teaching in girls’ schools.

In the past, Hamas has enforced conservative religious laws, such as telling school girls to wear traditional full-length robes and headscarves in a besieged territory.

Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is the Palestinian Sunni Islamic or Islamist organization. The group was founded in 1987 during the First Intifada as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas’ original purpose was to liberate Palestine from Israeli control and to establish an Islamic state in the area of Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007 when it won in a landslide against its opponents, Fatah.

In July 2009, Hamas’ political bureau Chief announced that they would settle for a resolution of a Palestinian state based on the 1957 borders so long as Palestinian refugees had the right to return to Israel and that East Jerusalem would be the new nation’s capital.

The traditional Muslim organization’s Article 46 forbids the “receipt of gifts or aid aimed at normalising (relations) with the Zionist occupation (Israel).” Article 46 will go into effect in September.

Saudis lift ban on women bicycling

Saudi women can now legally bike in public under certain conditions, Aljazeera reports. The Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice overturned the previous ban on cycling and motorbiking for women. However, women must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas. Women are allowed to ride bikes for recreation purposes only.

Saudi Arabia still bans women from driving. The Shura Council warned that allowing women to drive would “provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality, and divorce.”

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9 Comments on “Women’s Rights in the Middle East”

  1. Egypt English Says:

    Reblogged this on 734 E Street and commented:
    I’m no longer sure how I feel about the world today. No matter which way you turn your head someone, somewhere is being oppressed, repressed and depressed. When are we as a human race going to value each other not on the bases of our race, gender, ethnicity, creed, religion, spirituality, orientation, politics … and just start uniting. We are a lot stronger and more powerful as a unit, than we will ever be “segregated” based on superficial things.

    At the end of the day we all have one important thing in common. Male or Female, Eastern or Western, Religious or Not we all are made up of Human DNA.

    I understand the Science of a Mankind…do you?

    Peace & Love




  1. Somali journalist killed by gunmen: union | enjoy!www.acbnews.tumblr.com - 22/04/2013

    […] Women’s Rights in the Middle East […]

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