Enfranchised Minors: Women as People in the Middle East after the 2011 Arab Uprisings

  • Rania Maktabi, Rosemary Auchmuty, —Martha A. Fineman
  • Published 2017


The civic status of female citizens in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is conceptualized as “enfranchised minorhood” which reflects the confined position of adult women as legal minors under the trusteeship of male kin in family law, criminal law, and nationality law. During and in the aftermath of the Uprisings that erupted throughout MENA in 2011, female lawyers in Morocco, Lebanon, and Kuwait allied with women’s groups and pressured for reforms in patriarchal state laws. By 2015, reforms were manifest in criminal law; incremental in family law; and absent in nationality law. Theoretical conclusions based on comparative analysis of societal pressures in three states indicate that long historical trajectories are imperative for substantiating the expansion of female citizenship following the 2011 Uprisings. Additionally, the civic status of women in the MENA region is being strengthened under authoritarian monarchical rule in Kuwait and Morocco. A third finding is that pressures for reform have more visible reverberations in legal spheres with a clerical imprint such as family law and criminal law, while strengthened pressures in a secular legal sphere such as nationality law have been opposed more forcefully five years after the Uprisings.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Maktabi2017EnfranchisedMW, title={Enfranchised Minors: Women as People in the Middle East after the 2011 Arab Uprisings}, author={Rania Maktabi and Rosemary Auchmuty and —Martha A. Fineman}, year={2017} }