An examination of NGOs: The state and women's rights in the Middle East
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In this project the relationship between the state and women's right's non-government organizations in the Middle East will be explored. Recent studies have indicated that there is a trend with respect to states creating their own "non-government" organizations in an effort to project the image of working for women's rights within that state. This work tests to see if such a phenomenon is occurring within the Middle East. It will be argued here that there is a trend in the Middle East toward state co-optation of NGOs promoting women's rights via government sponsored organizations which are diminishing the capacity of the NGOs to function in these states in working toward women's rights. Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia are the cases used in this analysis; which consisted of a cross-national comparison of laws, non-government organizations, and the individual women's movements in the states. Additionally, the role of Islamic law (shari'ah) and external actors, such as USAID, the European Union, and the United Nations, were examined. The conclusion is reached that while there is clearly state co-optation occurring in all of the indicated cases, there was not sufficient evidence to make the case for a region wide trend of this phenomena.