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In late June, the first Saudi women to legally drive a car in the kingdom started their engines and took off down the road.

The lifting of Saudi Arabia’s ban on female drivers was a step forward for women. But it’s just one of a number of recent steps forward for women’s rights in the Arab world.

Countries like Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon have passed laws ending legal loopholes that let rapists off the hook for marrying their victim. Some countries have rolled back exemptions for those who commit so-called “honor killings” of female family members.

Still, many women’s rights advocates are only cautiously optimistic. In some countries, laws aimed at helping women aren’t enforced. Nor are public attitudes toward women’s rights necessarily becoming more progressive.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at women’s rights in the Arab world.

 

Joining the program:

  • Liz Sly, a Middle East correspondent for the Washington Post
  • Gabriella Nassif, research consultant with the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World at the Lebanese American University
  • Nafeesa Syeed, a journalist and co-author of the 2014 book Arab Women Rising
  • Valentine Moghadam, professor of sociology and international affairs at Northeastern University

 

Producers: Rosemary Belson, Yanqi Xu

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