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Engendering Democracy: The Role of Gender in the Democratization of the Middle East
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The 21st century has been tumultuous for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; this is an area well known for its close ties to its religious and political past. The current political and economic institutions interlocked under an Islamic framework create a gendered social structure that is biologically essentialist; the marginalization and rejection of women within the public sphere is a huge hindrance to potential democratic growth. 2011 was a milestone for the Middle East. Termed “Arab Spring,” revolutionary waves of demonstrations and revolts occurred all over the region, most notably in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. This paper explores the relationship between gender and democratic potential within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Multiple regression analysis is performed to determine the extent to which gender is correlated to the democratization process. Preliminary findings are presented, showing increases in gender equality are positively correlated with democratic potential and accountability. Potential policies that incorporate gender are suggested.