Women and movements: A feminist reconceptualization of the role of women in the post-colonial nationalist movement in Algeria and the revolution in Syria

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jennifer Collins-Foley


This paper examines two different movements in the region of North Africa. In this analysis, I investigate the role that women played and the impact the structure of the movements had on women’s status in these two societies. To explore this question this paper will compare the post-colonial nationalist movement in Algeria with the Arab Spring revolution in Syria. The nationalist movement in Algeria was an organized movement with a clear ideology and goals and demands. The role of women was integral to the success of this movement but their demands were pushed to the side after independence was achieved. The uprising in Syria moved with remarkable speed and the movement drove forward on demands such as change, freedom, and social justice. The vague demands combined with the speed of the overthrow created a space for other, more organized groups to step in and assume control. I seek to answer the questions: After the transition of a government, through which form of movement and subsequent new government are women’s lives more likely to improve? Under which form are their demands more likely to be heard and their presence given equal weight to that of men? I will argue that the rights of women in Algeria have been stalled and still face much opposition and that the uprising in Syria has provided a political moment more likely to provide a platform for women’s issues but has been stalled by opposition groups. I conclude by arguing that future movements could benefit from a hybrid of these two movements, incorporating both the structure of the nationalist movement and the radical drive for reform of the uprising.


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | History | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies

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