Arab Spring or Arab Autumn? Women’s political participation in the uprisings and beyond: Implications for international donor policy

After decades of rule characterised by dictatorship, patronage and violence, in 2010 young people in the Arab world began to rise up and demand a new kind of politics. Women played their part as leaders and participants, and were not spared the backlash – suffering arrests, sexual harassment and even death. Though many commentators have warned that the Arab Spring is turning into an Autumn or Winter, with human rights rolled back and hopes for change dashed, CARE International’s research presents a more complex picture. As the dust continues to settle, there are both challenges and opportunities to expand the role women play in shaping the forces that affect their lives. The continuing upheaval in Egypt suggests that failures to address the root causes of the uprising and open up politics to new actors may not be sustainable over the long term.

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