Neil Macmaster
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The post-independence state and the conservative marginalisation of women

This chapter examines how it was that the structure of the 'traditional' extended family and its values, often referred to as 'neo-patriarchy', was able to adapt in a dynamic way to the challenge of rapid social and economic change. This survival helps to explain why patterns of male domination remained so all-powerful and generalised within Algerian society, so that politically vulnerable post-independence governments preferred not to challenge the status quo on the position and rights of women. One sign of the political marginalisation of women was the tolerance by government in 1967-1970 of husbands going to the ballot station on behalf of their wives, a practice eventually legalised between 1975 and 1991. The role of women during the War of Independence played a significant part in the incipient prise de conscience, as well as their ability to vote, first gained from the colonial regime in 1958.

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Burning the veil

The Algerian war and the ‘emancipation’ of Muslim women, 1954–62


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