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Author: Nadia Sonneveld

To what extent have notions of manhood and womanhood as incorporated in Egyptian Muslim family law changed over the course of almost a century of family law reforms, and why? In answering this question, I draw on the works of two Egyptian intellectuals, Qasim Amin and Azza Heikal, because they discussed ideas about manhood and womanhood in relation to Islamic religion and authoritarian rule. My analysis shows that there is a dire need within studies on gender in the Middle East to assess the effectiveness of family law reform on both women’s and men’s agency. After all, when an authoritarian government introduces legislation that enhances women’s legal rights with regard to the family but does not reform men’s legal rights inside that same family, it is not surprising that when political oppression ends, disenfranchised men will try to abolish the laws that expanded their wives’ freedom and curtailed theirs.

Open Access
In: Religion and Gender
Author: Nadia Sonneveld

Abstract

This chapter discusses the impact of legal education on women’s access to the judiciary, connecting the Western and Muslim worlds. Exploring the period lasting from the early twentieth until the early twenty-first century, it examines female students’ entrance to legal education in Egypt, Indonesia, and the Netherlands to see whether women’s increasing entrance to Law Schools leads to equally growing numbers of women judges. However, it finds that legal education alone is not sufficient in promoting women’s access to the judiciary. Other factors, such as a shortage of judges after independence from colonialization, the judicial rotation system, and the possibility of part-time employment need to be taken into account as well.

In: Women Judges in the Muslim World
Author: Nadia Sonneveld

Abstract

This chapter asks whether there is a difference in the way male and female judges dispense justice in paternity dispute cases in Morocco, one of the first Arabic-speaking countries to appoint women as judges. Building on recent fieldwork in different courts in Morocco, it provides ethnographic detail to a hotly debated scholarly issue, namely whether men and women have different ‘voices’ in the way they dispense justice. This chapter concludes that both male and female judges adhere to a rule-based adjudicatory style, with male judges being slightly more inclined to authorize the use of DNA testing to solve paternity dispute claims.

In: Women Judges in the Muslim World
Author: Nadia Sonneveld

Abstract

This essay focuses on recent divorce reforms in Egypt (2000) and Morocco (2004), with equal attention to the positions of men and women who end their marriages. Whereas in Egypt, non-consensual, no-fault divorce reform (khul‘) is open only to women, in Morocco, another form of non-consensual, no-fault divorce, shiqāq, is open to both women and men, with men using it almost as frequently as women. Based on legal analysis and anthropological fieldwork, I consider first how men and women navigate rights and duties in divorce and then examine the differences between the two countries in the way men and women try to obtain divorce. I conclude that when both men and women are given opportunities for non-consensual, no fault divorce, highly gender-specific divorce regimes, such as the ṭalāq and taṭlīq, quickly lose their popularity.

Open Access
In: Islamic Law and Society