I think it's an extremely important question [AE: I wish reporters like this Garcia-Navarro would be asked why, exactly, is a question like this "extremely important"? Surely there are many other potential consequences of the 'Arab Spring' that are of greater importance to the West than this one is.], and I think, you know, it depends on which country you're looking at, but across the board I think many women who were involved in the revolution, certainly in Libya, certainly in Egypt, they do feel that they - that it hasn't necessarily empowered them.For one, the "women who were involved in the revolution" don't appear to have much influence over what is replacing the regimes they helped topple:
The tally, with the two groups of Islamists together winning about 70 percent of the seats, indicates the deep cultural conservatism of the Egyptian public, which is expressing its will through free and fair elections for the first time in more than six decades. ...
A coalition of parties founded by the young leaders of the revolt that unseated Mr. Mubarak won only a few percent of the seats.
Upon news of the Egyptian parliamentary elections, Razib wrote:
Back in the heady days of the Arab Spring some commenters infected by revolutionary fervor would scoff at the purported Islamist sympathies of the people. What this goes to show is that enthusiasm and hope does not translate into reality. If secular liberals in Egypt bow before the principle of popularity, then they accept that it is right and proper that they present their throats to their new overlords. I don’t view this as an apocalypse. It is what it is. But it was predictable.As are, I suspect, the prospects in Egypt and other Arab Spring countries for what in the Western worldview constitutes women's rights. The WVS probes respondents in participating countries about their feelings on multiple indicators of Western conceptions of women's rights. The following tables show responses from select Western nations and Muslim countries, and to provide a miscellaneous angle, Japan, collected from 2005-2008 (with the exception of the Egyptian response to the question on abortion, which was collected in 2000):
|Agree that when jobs are scare, men should|
have more right to them than women
|Men make better business executives|
than women do
|Men make better political leaders|
than women do
|Approve of single motherhood||Men||Women|
|University is more important for|
a boy than for a girl
|Abortion is never justifiable||Men||Women|
Turkey and Malaysia are considered religiously moderate Islamic countries, yet mainstream public sentiment on the items above (and on a whole host of other social issues) in these places are significantly to the right of the Republican party in the US, and of course public sentiment in more fervently Islamic countries like Iraq, Iran, and Egypt is more conservative still.
By way of example, the question on abortion is on a ten-point scale, with all but one of the possible responses allowing for abortion in at least some cases. The respective table above includes only the percentages of respondents who share Rick Santorum's view that it is never--even in the case of rape--justifiable for a woman to have an abortion. Throughout the Muslim Middle East and North Africa, majorities of both men and women feel the same way the "champion of the extreme anti-choice movement" in the US does.
The impression one gets from listening to major media organs in the US like NPR is that the putative rights of women are being squelched against their wishes. In reality, most women in Egypt don't want what the feminists in the West are selling. Four of five Egyptian women feel that men make better business executives than women do, and nine of ten feel the same way when it comes to political leaders. An overwhelming majority think that the workplace is a man's place before it is a woman's. Almost unanimously, single motherhood is censured. If a mainstream politician in the US were to express an opinion on any of these "women's rights" issues that most Egyptian women hold (and more power to them as far as I'm concerned--it's their country and their lives, not ours), it could easily spell the end of his political career.