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Has the Arab Spring been detrimental to women?

Many have equated the Arab Spring with a fledgling kind of democracy – one that brought more freedom to think, to act and to protest. But for half the region's population – namely, its women – those benefits have yet to arrive. CBC Radio's The Sunday Edition looks at how the Arab Spring has affected women's rights.

Rise of Islamist movements seen as hurting women's rights

While the Arab Spring has brought the promise of greater freedom for people in North Africa and the Middle East, many observers believe it has had a detrimental effect on the rights of women. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

The Arab Spring, which began in 2010 and radiated across North Africa and the Middle East, has been messy, exhilarating, chaotic and often violent. It's also been full of setbacks.

Whether people think the policies of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, or his recent overthrow, were a betrayal of the Arab Spring, many have equated the movement with a fledgling kind of democracy – one that brought more freedom to think, to act and to protest.

But for half the region's population – namely, its women – those benefits have yet to arrive. In Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and Yemen, Islamists have been flexing their political muscles and fighting against women's rights.

Many of the women who marched alongside men in the streets demanding dignity and freedom find they are losing ground – and even some rights they once enjoyed.

CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition spoke to Moushira Khattab, former minister of family and population in Egypt, and Lilia Labidi, former minister of women's affairs in Tunisia's transitional government, about the effect the Arab Spring has had on women’s rights.