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Other research product . 2023

The Role and Limits of Women’s Rights Movements in Shaping the Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Processes in the Maghreb from Independence Until Present : A Case Study of Tunisia and Morocco [védés előtt]

Sipos, Xénia Zsuzsanna;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2023
Country: Hungary

How do the main elements and actors shaping women’s rights at the macro, mezzo and micro levels relate to each other during different periods of crisis, in different circumstances, and how does the traditional division of gender roles influence decision-makers in approaching the question of gender equality? Would a greater inclusion of women in decision-making reinforce democracy building and overwrite the division of gender roles? To answer the research questions a qualitative case-study research design was applied to compare the evolution of women’s rights in Morocco and Tunisia from independence until the present day with a special focus on the post-Arab Spring period and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Incorporating both inductive and deductive methods and examining the link between a cause or a set of causes and the outcome, process tracing was chosen as the qualitative analysis methodology. In addition to the survey and the evaluation of primary and secondary sources, the dissertation collected data from twenty interviews conducted with women’s rights activists and representatives of different NGOs from Morocco and Tunisia, while also setting up the researcher’s own datasets from the empirical analysis. The new results of the dissertation can be summarised as follows: • Building on a novel methodology the dissertation applies a complex framework that takes into consideration actors, elements and their interactions at the macro (international conventions), mezzo (decision-makers, states) and micro (non-state actors) levels. The conduct of interviews enriched the quality of the research, especially in the context of the pandemic which urged the researcher to apply alternative methods and reach representatives and activists online. In addition, based on previously unseen data interviews helped the researcher to arrive at new results. • Based on the analysis of the functioning of the government and the interviews, the dissertation proves that the absence of responsibility from the leadership leads to general disappointment among local people towards decision-makers. This anarchical situation reinforces the recognition of women’s rights NGOs that in some regions quasi fill the position of the government. • The Arab Spring and the pandemic established a quite favourable environment for civil society to play a more active role and exert pressure on decision-makers. However, the socioeconomic conditions (political turmoil in Tunisia, foreign indebtedness, the increase in the unemployment rate) overwrote initial expectations and did not allow the actors to fully exploit the new opportunities. • The Arab Spring brought about the re-emergence of Islamists, the consequences of which were most apparent from the point of women’s rights in Tunisia where school dropouts significantly increased. • The interviews proved that the evolution of women’s rights in Morocco and Tunisia does not exclusively depend on traditions and cultural norms but on the level of education. Statistical indicators also proved this result which explains why Tunisia has always been ahead of Morocco in terms of the development of women’s rights. • Contrary to the general perception, the interviews proved that the solidarity among women’s rights NGOs is more apparent in the marginalized regions of Morocco and Tunisia.


Politikatudomány, Nemzetközi kapcsolatok

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