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Word Count: 1,193
The role of women is crucial to any societys formation Particularly in the Middle East the correlation between gender and the nation is instrumental in the formation of the modern state Essentially the Woman Question attempts to understand the role of women within the modern state and their effect on its construction It is not a gendered analysis but a holistic approach to understanding society in the Middle East In following the emergence of womens movements in Egypt Jordan and Iran a connection is clear Nationalism and revolutions or the lack thereof have impacted women immensely To understand the status of women in these countries the relationship between women and the state must be established In her examination of womens movements from 1900-1945 Ellen Fleischmann presents three thematic stages of development The first is the awakening in which social practices that effect women are questioned Following this awakening is an adoption of nationalism as a liberating discourse which connects womens nationalist activities to their liberation Finally the third stage brings the evolution of state feminism In this way nationalism often had a releasing effect on womenthrough their involvement in nationalism they developed over time an internal critique of gender relations This framework referred to womens movements in the first half on the 20th Century However these stages are useful in examining the modern movements in the Middle East and how they relate to gender and the nation Qasim Amin presents a convincing correlation between repressive government rule and the consequential treatment of women He credits Egypts system to authoritarian government rule which was mirrored within the family A repressive government led to the suppression of women within the home and society Here the woman question is determined and overshadowed by despotic rule The nation had its biggest impact by relegating authority to the family Fifty years later this same pattern repeats itself in Egypt Historical and political conditions created the early repression in
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