Gendering the costs and benefits of the Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt using the gallup surveys

Gendering the costs and benefits of the Arab uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt using the gallup surveys

The literature on gender and the Arab “Spring” has documented the role of female activists in the uprisings and analysed the implications of Islamists’ electoral successes for women. However, little is known about how ordinary women have experienced the changes that accompanied the uprisings and how this compares with men’s experiences. The removal of authoritarian rulers may have improved satisfaction with public institutions or decreased perceived corruption, but for some the uprisings may have resulted in higher perceived or reported crime and deeper material hardship.

This paper analyses gender differences between Tunisians’ and Egyptians’ perceptions of prevailing economic and political circumstances using nationally-representative samples surveyed before, during, and after the uprisings of the Arab “Spring.” Descriptive results indicate that Egyptians’ ratings of three indices of economic conditions are lower overall, although Tunisians perceive a steeper deterioration in economic circumstances in the post-uprising period.

In both countries, these economic losseshave not been compensated for by political gains, as measured by four indices. While women and men’s economic and political attitudes follow a similar trajectory in each country, there are clear differences per the gender of the respondent, particularly when it comes to political attitudes. This gender difference is largely confirmed by multivariate analysis. Women are more likely than men to report favorable economic conditions in both countries. In the realm of politics, Egyptian and Tunisian women express greater dissatisfaction with law and order and with national institutions. At the same time, men perceive higher levels of corruption than do women in both countries.

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