Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type



A gender analysis is needed for a deeper understanding of democracy and democratic transitions. While many commentators of the Middle East have focused on the participation (and transformation) of Islamist parties as key to a democratic transition, they tend to overlook what are in fact key constituencies, natural allies, and social bases of democratic politics—women and their feminist organizations. Women may need democracy in order to flourish, but democracy needs women if it is to be inclusive, representative, and enduring. A comparative perspective as well as a focus on the Middle East/North Africa region illustrates the relationship between the advancement of democracy and the advancement of women.