The Documentary: The Women Of The Arab Spring

Ep 1/2

Tuesday 10 June



In this two-part documentary on BBC World Service, Egyptian journalist Mona Eltahawy meets the women who are trying to be heard in Arab countries and asks whether traditional societies are ready for the change they are agitating for.

The Arab spring was never about gender equality, but many women became alarmed when their uprisings went unrewarded and the men that were keen to have them crying for their freedom were not so happy to relinquish power once the dust had settled.

In this first part, Mona travels to Tunisia – the country that sparked off the uprisings – to meet the women who pushed through legislation enshrining gender equality in the new constitution. Mona asks whether tensions exist between secular and feminist Islam and moves beyond the façade to ask whether this new legislation will have any impact on the majority of Tunisia’s women.

In Jordan, after the 2011 revolutions across the Arab world, activists spent 16 days protesting violence against women, including an ancient penal code that allows rapists to marry their victims. The programme speaks to a victim of rape forced to marry her rapist, and to those who defend the current legislation and asks what it will take for the government to repeal it.