In This Review

Women, the State, and Political Liberalization: Middle Eastern and North African Experiences
Women, the State, and Political Liberalization: Middle Eastern and North African Experiences
By Laurie A. Brand
Columbia University Press, 1998, 320 pp

Brand traces the fate of women during periods of political liberalization in three different Arab states: Morocco, Jordan, and Tunisia. The book offers a solid study of the politics of liberalization for each country, then follows with a history of the respective women's movements and an examination of women's political role during liberalizing phases. With comparative references to post-Soviet Eastern Europe and Latin America, her findings support the following conclusions: liberalization can actually enhance the power of the Islamists and other conservatives opposed to women's causes; women's political clout has been weakened by limited mobilizational muscle; and too many reforms affecting women have been top-down, state-directed efforts. Rich in empirical detail and well organized, this book should attract the attention of women's studies scholars as well as students of political liberalization.