Gender and Disability in the Arab Region: The Challenges in the New Millennium
The study upon which this article is based analyzes the status of Arab women in general, gender relations in the Middle East, and the situation of Arab women with disabilities, based on available disability statistics from a few selected countries and the author's observations during her 13-year living experience in Baghdad, Amman, and Beirut. The status of women varies from one society to another; however, everywhere disability poses additional challenges for women. In conservative societies where the status of women is relatively low, it has a particularly negative impact, creating more challenges in their daily life. Although state sponsored education accompanied by industrialisation, urbanisation and globalisation has played a major role in creating a generation of more assertive and independent Arab women, the integration of Arab women in this relatively conservative society is still in its formative stage in the new Millennium. This article discusses literacy rates, education, employment and marriage and sexuality. In addition, the study addresses the impact of armed conflict on Arab women with disabilities and acknowledges challenges and good practices.