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Dirassat

Abstract

The Algerian women’s situation has witnessed, over decades, great transformations and improvements in many fields; such as education, economy and politics. However women remain in the eyes of the Algerian society as a sex of a secondary position. This wrongheaded view is strongly rooted into the Algerian mind, and undoubtedly the inherited traditions and customs are its essential source. I would like to argue in this essay that this traditional background has been deeply-rooted into people's minds many decades ago by the Association of Algerian Muslim "Ulama", the most distinctive and prominent school in Algeria's intellectual landscape. In fact, it has laid the foundations of the moral, political and social reform in Algeria prior to the end of the French colonisation era. I will begin by Abdelhamid ibn Badis's conception of the education of women and their role in society. This conception was basically founded on religious convictions, but in fact it takes its origin from social traditions. I will introduce the debate about Islam's position towards women between Abdelhamid ibn Badis (1889-1940) and the Tunisian reformer Etahar Elhaddad (1899-1935). Then I will examine the situation of women in Algeria, more than seven decades after the death of Abdelhamid ibn Badis, an emblematic figure in the history of modern Algeria, sketching the measures that the government has realised in order to improve human rights and especially women's rights, ending with a conclusion to assert that it is so urgent to distinguish Islam from customs and social traditions.

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