COVID and Gender in the Middle East (Hardcover)

COVID and Gender in the Middle East By Rita Stephan (Editor) Cover Image

COVID and Gender in the Middle East (Hardcover)

By Rita Stephan (Editor)


As the coronavirus ravages the globe, its aftermaths have brought gender inequalities to the forefront of many conversations. Countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been slow to prepare for, adapt to, and mitigate the COVID-19 health crisis and its impacts on governance, economics, security, and rights. Women’s physical well-being, social safety nets, and economic participation have been disproportionately affected, and with widespread shutdowns and capricious social welfare programs, women are exiting the workplace and the classroom, carrying the caregiving burden.

With feminist foregrounding, Rita Stephan's collection COVID and Gender in the Middle East gathers an impressive group of local scholars, activists, and policy experts. The book examines a range of national and localized responses to gender-specific issues around COVID’s health impact and the economic fallout and resulting social vulnerabilities, including the magnified marginalization of Syrian refugees; the inequitable treatment of migrant workers in Bahrain; and the inadequate implementation of gender-based violence legislation in Morocco. An essential global resource, this book is the first to provide empirical evidence of COVID’s gendered effects.

Rita Stephan is a research fellow at North Carolina State University and the Regional Coordinator for Religious and Ethnic Minorities at USAID. She is the coeditor of Women Rising: In and Beyond the Arab Spring and "In Line with the Divine": The Struggle for Gender Equality in Lebanon.

Product Details ISBN: 9781477326527
ISBN-10: 1477326529
Publisher: University of Texas Press
Publication Date: February 21st, 2023
Pages: 304
Language: English
This impressive and beautifully crafted volume breaks new ground in considering women’s agency in the Middle East and North Africa. Bringing together original research by international scholars and activists, the book captures the experiences of women in the region and shows their vulnerabilities and responses from a feminist perspective. A unique contribution on gender and the pandemic, COVID and Gender in the Middle East offers a wake-up call and a rich analysis of how COVID’s effects and solutions are gendered.
— Mounira M. Charrad

As COVID-19 spread to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, international policies focused on mitigating economic and social afflictions.  Rita Stephan found a dire lack of recognition of local women’s varied experiences with the pandemic; in response, COVID and Gender in the Middle East raises awareness of women’s agency. The authors collected here are pioneers, diverse Arab women speaking not in the voices of victims but of caregivers, medical professionals, educators, students, family providers, and feminist civil society leaders. This is a powerful collection of empirical analyses, linking the pandemic to gender-based violence, social policy, and women activists' responses. . . . A must read!

— Mary-Jo DelVecchio Good

COVID-19 has dramatically affected politics, economics, and societies across the world. This fascinating collection of essays demands that we understand its gendered effects, shining a light on the myriad ways in which women have been disproportionately affected by new demands for care, new stressors in home environments, and uneven exposure to risk in the workforce.  Rita Stephan has gathered an impressive group of (mostly) women from the MENA region, whose experience and original research convincingly demonstrates the centrality of gender to understanding how COVID-19 is reshaping the region.

— Marc Lynch