How the West Undermined Women's Rights in the Arab World

Speaker: Dr Nicola Pratt, University of Warwick

Oral history remains a largely untapped source in research on the Arab world. Simultaneously, women’s activism in the post-independence period remains relatively understudied, despite a heightened interest in women’s involvement in the Arab uprisings.


on personal narratives of women activists of different generations in Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan, this lecture explores the history of women’s activism in the Arab world from the 1950s onwards. It demonstrates the ways in which this activism has changed over time and what this tells us about the gendered dimensions of geopolitics in the region. The lecture highlights the significance of women’s activism and women’s rights within radical political projects that resisted Western influence from the 1950s until the 1970s and the gendered consequences of the defeat of radical popular movements by the West and its local allies.

Nicola Pratt argues that the demise of radical, secular movements has led to a decoupling of secular women’s rights agendas from local popular projects, paving the way for their cooption and instrumentalization by authoritarian regimes and international actors and undermining the credibility of secular women’s rights agendas.

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Room 2.02, Clement House, LSE
adress is not specified
20 January , Wednesday 18:00