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Feminism in Tunisia and Jordan in Comparison Essay

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Updated: Dec 3rd, 2020

The problem of gender inequality is an important issue that requires solutions to promote positive relationships in modern society. Although patriarchal principles have had a tangible influence on the understanding of gender and gender-related interactions in Tunisia and Jordan, the feminist movement has affected the specified states as well. However, due to cultural differences between Tunisia and Jordan, the development of feminist ideas has taken different routes in the target settings.

Although in both states emancipation has been restricted to social spheres, the fact that in Jordan, most support comes from external sources makes the struggle for gender equality somewhat more complicated in it rather than in Tunisia.

Among the differences in the forms that the feminist movement takes in Tunisia and Jordan, one should mention the economic component. In the Tunisian setting, the importance of economic issues in the feminist movement and their inherent connection to social concerns is underlined as one of its key characteristics. According to Murphy, “There is also a line of argument that asserts the beneficial impact of economic liberation for women” (184).

The specified distinctions are of particularly big importance since they introduce the rationale for other social groups to support the feminist movement. Thus, feminists in Tunisia create additional opportunities for arguing their position. In the Jordan setting, the significance of the economic impact that feminism produces on society is underrepresented (Brand 155). Therefore, it is important to explore not only sociocultural but also political and economic obstacles that stand in the way of promoting female liberation.

However, the Jordan feminist movement exhibits a significant amount of changes within the administrative environment. For example, numerous organizations such as the General Federation of Jordanian Women and the League of Jordanian Democratic Women (Rand) have been created for supporting women and the feminist movement (Brand 152-153). The specified organizations provide support for women in Jordan, therefore creating a safer environment for them and addressing the instances that involve violations of women’s rights (Murphy 174). Thus, the sources of support for women in Jordan and Tunisia are quite different due to the discrepancies in the administrative issues associated with the feminist movement.

The general attitude toward the feminist movement has also been considerably different in Jordan and Tunisia. The specified issue incorporates not only social but also economic concerns. For example, in Tunisia, the threat of a social reaction that may result from a drop in male employment rates is emphasized greatly as a possible threat to the movement (Murphy 172). The observed challenge is not present in the Jordan setting, where the promotion of women’s rights has not yet reached the realm of business and economy (Brand 157). Consequently, both movements have to preoccupy themselves with the management of socioeconomic hindrances that prevent them from attaining the desired results.

Despite the differences mentioned above, the feminist movements in Jordan and Tunisia share numerous similarities. Both have been planted in the setting that can be described as very patriarchal and driven by religious principles that define gender relationships.

Therefore, in both states, the feminist movement has to address primarily social traditions and prejudices. Moreover, both in Jordan and Tunisia, the proponents of feminism have attained impressive results by challenging the traditions that have been perpetuated in the specified societies. In the same way, both movements need to embrace the same issues regarding the connection of the feminist ideas and the current socioeconomic landscape of Jordan and Tunisia. Thus, a gradual shift in gender relationships in both states can be expected.

The issue of support for the feminist movement can also be regarded as the point of difference between Tunisia and Jordan. According to Brand, most non-for-profit organizations (NGOs), which fund feminist activism in Jordan, are of foreign origins, particularly, western countries. The lack of local support affects the movement in Jordan significantly, reducing the range of opportunities for women to receive assistance and secure the rights to which they are entitled (155).

In Tunisia, a different situation can be observed; although local authorities cannot be described as actively feminist, they support the general idea of women’s empowerment. For instance, the recent trend toward emancipation deserves a mentioning since the Tunisian government “includes the women’s associations and the creation of new legislation in favor of women among its assets” (Murphy 191). Therefore, the support aspect represents one of the glaring differences between the development of feminism and the attitudes toward it in Tunisia and Jordan.

Despite certain similarities such as the lack of feminism in political spheres, the degree of local activities draws a line between feminism in Jordan and Tunisia. Whereas in Tunisia, local feminist activists have been quite prolific in their endeavors, in Jordan, a significant portion of the movement is primarily encouraged by external NGOs. Other important nuances of Tunisian and Jordanian feminism should also be considered when drawing a comparison between the two. For example, the extent to which social values and traditions hinder the promotion of feminist ideas in the specified settings varies when comparing Tunis and Jordan. Nonetheless, in the modern interpretation of feminism, the movement is currently in its inception stage in both states. Therefore, active steps need to be taken to encourage the further promotion of gender equality.

Works Cited

Brand, Laurie A. “Jordan: Women and Struggle for Political Opening.” Women and Globalization in the Arab Middle East, edited by Eleanor Abdella Doumato and Marsha Pripstein, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003, pp. 143-168.

Murphy, Emma C. “Women in Tunisia: Between State Feminism and Economic Reform.” Women and Globalization in the Arab Middle East, edited by Eleanor Abdella Doumato and Marsha Pripstein, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2003, pp. 169-193.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Feminism in Tunisia and Jordan in Comparison." December 3, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/feminism-in-tunisia-and-jordan-in-comparison/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Feminism in Tunisia and Jordan in Comparison'. 3 December.

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