This research puts forward the argument that the state can utilize, negotiate and transform laws according to the different forces it faces and that this has its implications on citizenship rights for women. The study accomplishes this by comparing Egypt and Morocco, two Arab [and North African] countries that have undergone recent changes in their personal status laws (also called family laws). Methodologically speaking, this is achieved through examining the impact of the rising pressure of women's groups and local NGOs to challenge the rising Islamic activism (internal factors), and the impact of globalization, and international conventions and organizations (external factors) to assess the contemporary changes and their effect on law reform and women's citizenship rights in both countries. This study advances our understanding of the role of the state (and its use of religion) in gendering citizenship, and the variations from one country to another due to the interactions with internal and external forces. Although women activists and reformists in the Arab world have accepted Western support to reach their goal of empowerment to gain a better citizenship status, the majority of them still, in their acceptance of modernization and global forces, prefer to follow the Islamic model not the Western or secular values or principles.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date of Award


Online Submission Date


First Advisor

Nazek Nosseir

Committee Member 1

Nazek Nosseir

Committee Member 2

Helen Rizzo

Committee Member 3

Maha Abdelrahman

Document Type



120 leaves

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1


Library of Congress Subject Heading 2



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Call Number

Thesis 2004/37