SOAS University of London

London Middle East Institute

Seeking Legitimacy: Why Arab Autocracies Adopt Women's Rights

IMG - Aili Mari Tripp Book
Aili Mari Tripp (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Date: 9 February 2021Time: 5:30 PM

Finishes: 9 February 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Webinar



In Seeking Legitimacy: Why Arab Autocracies Adopt Women's Rights (Cambridge University Press, 2019) Aili Mari Tripp explains why autocratic leaders in Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria embraced more extensive legal reforms of women's rights than their Middle Eastern counterparts. The study challenges existing accounts that rely primarily on religiosity to explain the adoption of women's rights in Muslim-majority countries. Based on extensive fieldwork in Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia and an original database of gender-based reforms in the Middle East and North Africa, this accessible study analyzes how women's rights are used both instrumentally and symbolically to advance the political goals of authoritarian regimes as leverage in attempts to side-line religious extremists. It shows how Islamist political parties have been forced to dramatically change their positions on women's rights to ensure political survival. In an original contribution to the study of women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa, Tripp reveals how women's rights movements have capitalized on moments of political turmoil to defend and advance their cause.


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Seeking Legitimacy: Why Arab Autocracies Adopt Women's Rights

About the speaker

Aili Mari Tripp is Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research has focused on women and politics in Africa, women’s movements in Africa, transnational feminism, African politics (with particular reference to Uganda and Tanzania), and on the informal economy in Africa.

She is author of several award-winning books, including Women and Politics in Uganda (2000), Museveni's Uganda: Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime (2010) and Women and Power in Postconflict Africa (Cambridge, 2015). Her most recent book is a comparative study of women’s rights and legal reform in North Africa: Seeking Legitimacy: Why Arab Autocracies Adopt Women’s Rights (New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019).


This webinar will take place online via Zoom. Click here to register

* The webinar will also be live-streamed on our Facebook page for those that are unable to participate via Zoom.

Chair: Dina Matar (SOAS) and Narguess Farzad (SOAS)

Organiser: SOAS Middle East Institute

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