Saturday 24 Feb 2018 | 15:06 | SYDNEY
Saturday 24 Feb 2018 | 15:06 | SYDNEY

The Middle East: Feminism's new front line



4 September 2008 10:01

For those who thought the feminist movement had largely achieved its aims in the West, the sisters still fighting the good fight in the Near East face different challenges, achieving varying degrees of success. In Kuwait, for instance, women were granted the right to vote in 2005, while those in Saudi Arabia still aren't allowed to drive.

Recently, new challenges have arisen. In Yemen, the Ministry of Justice has tried to introduce marriage contracts that require only the signatures of the groom and the bride’s guardian, leaving out the requirement for the bride’s signature. Yemeni women’s groups are trying to have the law amended before parliament debates it next month.

In Iran, meanwhile, women’s rights activists have had more success in having a 'Family Support Bill’ taken out of parliament and referred back to the legal committee for review. Among other things, the bill would have allowed men to take a second wife without the agreement of the first (polygamy is legal in Iran, but it is not widely practiced).

So many issues, so much cultural tradition, so many interpreted religious opinions. Women’s rights groups certainly have their challenges ahead of them.

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