As events unfold in the Middle East, a key indicator of the prospects for post-authoritarian regimes will be how new governments opt to address the status of women going forward. The rights afforded to women in a society are intrinsically reliable indicators of both economic prosperity and of social cohesion and sustainable development.
Eminent Middle East historian Bernard Lewis recalled in a recent interview with The Jerusalem Post (February 25) the insightful words of Turkish writer Namik Kemal from around 1880: “We fell behind the West because of the way we treat our women. By the way we treat our women we deprive ourselves of the talents and services of half the population. And we submit the early education of the other half to ignorant and downtrodden mothers.” (hat tip to Terry Glavin for the JP article).
Lewis points out that at the time, the Muslim world had already been asking for over a century, “What went wrong? Why did we fall behind the West?” Yet still today, a quick scan of...More >>