Arab Media: It’s Time To Follow West, Appoint Female Heads Of State


TEL AVIV – More and more Arabic-language newspapers are publishing articles urging Arab nations to appoint women as heads of state, claiming that while the West has understood the power of female leaders, the Arab world continues to marginalize women.

Dr. Muhammad Al-Rumaihi, a Kuwaitii columnist for Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, wrote an article titled “This Is the Era of Women’s Rule,” in which he claimed that, while the superpowers are governed by “iron women,” Arab countries are still opposed to women playing any role in the public domain.

“If the term most commonly associated with the Arab woman is ‘exclusion,’ then the term most commonly associated with women in the West in the 21st century is ‘in charge,’ ” Al-Rumaihi wrote in the article translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

He continued by noting that the world is witnessing a change in which “international relations are no longer shaped by ‘the wisdom of men’ but rather by ‘the rigidity of women.’

“Only the Arab woman has no consolation, and will continue to drag herself, disappointed, between those who agree [only] partially to her participation in the public domain and those who flatly oppose it.”

Egyptian journalist Amr Abd Al-Sami, another columnist for Al-Ahram, extolled the “formidable array of 23 women who govern countries around the world,” including Germany, the UK and he mentioned the possibility of the U.S. if Hillary Clinton wins the election.

“Witnessing the explosive expansion of women’s [presence] in politics, I wonder when we will see an Arab woman presiding over one of our own societies, which are traditionally described as patriarchal societies,” Al-Sami writes.

He notes that while Arab women have occasionally held senior roles in government, there has never been a female president or vice president.

“Does this reflect a flaw in Arab societies?” Al-Sami asks, adding that it’s time to bring down the barriers restricting women.

Writing in the London-based daily Al-Hayat, Lebanese journalist Jihad Al-Khazen noted that only one of 22 female heads of state was Muslim and none of them were Arab.

“Had women controlled the world, there would have been no wars, and we would have seen fat women happy with their weight.  I jest,” Al-Khazen wrote.

Al-Khazen noted that during President Barack Obama’s first term there were only two Arab women out of a total of 25 female ambassadors in Washington. However, Al-Khazen wrote, neither were Muslim: “The Bahraini ambassador, Huda Nonoo, was Jewish, and former Bahraini ambassador to London Alice Samaan was Christian.”

According to Al-Khazen, women are superior to men.

“Arab women are better than the Arab men – that is my opinion. I expect them to attain positions of leadership in our countries.”