Female Citizenship in the Middle East: Comparing family law reform in Morocco, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon

In: Middle East Law and Governance
Author: Rania Maktabi1
View More View Less
Download Citation Get Permissions

Access options

Get access to the full article by using one of the access options below.

Institutional Login

Log in with Open Athens, Shibboleth, or your institutional credentials

Login via Institution


Buy instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):


This article explores the relationship between type of court system, parliamentary reform, and expanded female citizenship in four Arab states between 1990 and 2010. I argue that female citizens have acquired wider civil rights through parliament in relatively homogenous states with unitary court systems than in multireligious states with dual court systems. In Egypt and Morocco, unitary courts curbed clerical judicial authority over family law and weakened the resilience of conservative religious authorities. In these states, renewed pressures for reform after 1990 yielded strengthened female civil rights. In Syria and Lebanon, dual courts safeguard the judicial autonomy of clerics and enable them to resist pressures for family law reform more forcefully. In these states, little changed because the interests of political and religious authorities converge in ways that bolster group-based citizenship and constrain the civil rights of female citizens.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 784 246 11
Full Text Views 469 37 4
PDF Views & Downloads 239 70 12