Hayat Alvi


With the 2011 “Arab Spring”, the issue of women’s empowerment has emerged as a parallel movement in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). What are the implications of the women’s empowerment movements in the MENA for improved political representation and rights? Do these developments contribute to long-term socio-political, legal, judicial, and economic reforms that would improve overall human rights, and especially women’s rights in the MENA? This paper is a comparative survey of women’s empowerment and rights, especially in terms of general human rights principles, as well as in terms of political representation in post-revolution Tunisia and Egypt. The level of analysis is Amartya Sen’s theories of “development as freedom”. Applying Sen’s freedom-based development theories, focusing on women’s agency in attaining rights and freedoms for the broader goal of human rights and socioeconomic development accounts for the uniqueness of this study.

Author Biography

Hayat Alvi is Associate Professor in the National Security Affairs Department at the U.S. Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. She specializes in the Middle East, South Asia, Political Economy, International Relations, and Islamic Studies. She also specializes in gender issues pertaining to the Middle East, South Asia, and Islam. The views expressed are personal.