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Sat 7 Apr 2012 10:26 AM

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Arab majority see brighter future for women

Doha Debates opinion poll shows women will be better off in post-Arab Spring region

Arab majority see brighter future for women
Arab women, abaya, protests, veil

A majority of Arabs believe women will be better off in post-revolutionary states where political Islam is on the rise, according to the latest Doha Debates opinion poll.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they believed women's prospects will be brighter because the "quality of life will improve" and women, who were active agents of the revolutions, will continue their movement and fight for their rights.

Citing main reasons for their optimism, those surveyed said women will be more protected from "harassment and intimidation", will have better access to education and enjoy greater freedom of expression and representation in political parties.

The poll findings mirrored the results of the February 28 Doha Debate in which 74 percent of the audience rejected the motion: "This House believes women will be worse off after the revolution".

Respondents from North Africa were most optimistic regarding women's improved conditions after the revolutions, especially in Tunisia and Egypt where the revolutions started, while those residing in the Levant were least positive.

Although the majority did not worry about the possible impact of the rise of political Islam on women, respondents in the Levant seemed more concerned with this issue.

However, despite a high level of optimism that the Arab Spring makes it more likely there will be a significant increase in the number of women holding senior political roles in the future, many said they believed this will not necessarily translate into leadership positions.

The survey, conducted by the polling company YouGov between the March 11-14, questioned 1,003 people.

The Doha Debates are hosted and funded by the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.