Across each of the following Arab countries women continue to struggle for access to education and equal opportunities to careers. Factors such as war, distinct gender roles, and unequal rights for women all have an influence on women and education in Arab countries. In every instance there are women guiding their own education and organizing together for better public education.

Iraqi education was, at one time, not just a privilege for children but a right. Education before the Gulf Wars and the Iran-Iraq wars was top-notch in the Middle East. Literacy rates were at 75% for women and even higher for men. Today, schools are destroyed or utilized in war efforts. Supplies that once would have helped students now flow to the army or into insurgent hands. Children that once would have had the time and energy available are now in charge of the important tasks of keeping house or helping to find food and/or water. Teaching, being a government-paid job for most, is a virtually impossible profession to attain because of the lack of funds and the crippled state of Iraq today.

Palestine and Israel
"Education is seen as the one thing that, unlike physical possessions such as land and houses, cannot be taken away once it has been acquired" (Hammond).
Education comes from the spread of knowledge and movement, and for Palestinians being denied free movement beyond their borders is also denying them opportunities for knowledge and careers. Education for Palestinians would also mean organization of people and ideas, even the end of occupation. However, Palestinians face school closings and road blocks, and when this happens often family and neighbors become the teachers with the crowded homes as their classrooms. Without access to libraries Palestinian families circulate photocopies of books and articles in several languages including Arabic. Education allows for a more certain future in a time of conflict and occupation.
Hammond, Keith. "Acts of Resistance." Adults Learning. 18.1 (2006).
Additionally the education available in Israel refers only to Jewish history without mention of Palestine and the history of the people. Arab Israelis must rely on information passed down through the family in order to grasp a sense of their culture and past.
Most articles are reference to Jewish Israeli's with regards to education with little mention of Palestinians. This may reflect the large segregation and conflict between the groups, or it may be that Israeli's group minorities within their statistics. Either way this sites provides a breakdown of education in


Lebanon has been a center for education in the Middle East for most of the last century. With its large universities and diverse population, students from around the world come to study, particularly in Beirut. The Lebanese education system is faced with its problems as well though. An overwhelming amount of emphasis has been on French as the language of higher education and literary evidence exists which shows that the superiority bestowed upon French language and culture can be a painful and confusing for Arab girls growing up and trying to establish their identities while hearing that message. To get a sense of what is available in Lebanon in terms of education, check this out. This is part of an interesting site called where you can search for all sorts of Lebanese facts and issues.


Education is an important part of feminism in Syria. Women have continuously struggled to gain equal access to education. Feminist activism for education has taken place for many decades. Women have come together to form several organization to promote the education of women and eliminate women's illiteracy, such as the "The Literacy Society in 1928, formed to give girls a sound education and The Society of Graduates of Teachers Colleges was formed in 1928 to educate women and give them vocational training" (Moussa 2). For further information on the history of feminist activism please visit the the History of Syrian Feminism. Through this activism women have made great strides in the past decades to gain better access to education. More and More women are beginning to enroll in school and has decreased the gender gap in education. However it has not reflected in the areas of employment, where women are confinded to positions such as teaching and clerical work. Please visit the Selected Gender Indicators for Syria from the United Nations site for more information.

Moussa, Daad. "Syrian Women and Civil Society." Damascus University, 25-26 June 2006 pg. 1-8.

Saudi Arabia

Education for women was not also this accessible in Saudi Arabia. It had only became within the past 50 to 60 years. In the past girls, that families were wealthy enough, were educated in their homes by a private teacher. Things changed drastically starting in the early 1940s. During this time girl private schools were opening up about Mecca by Indonesia and Malawi immigrants. Theses schools, run and established by non-Saudis, made some Saudis offended that ‘others’ were creating schools. This started the beginning of the formation of private girl schools run by Saudis in Saudi Arabia.
The first school for girls was established in 1955, The Moparat of King Saud in Riyadh supervised by the King Saud’s daughters. By the 1960, the Kind of Saudi Arabia established public education not only for Saudi girls but boys as well. He understood the problem of not educating the girls of Saudi Arabia and worked in establishing public schools throughout the kingdom.
Education has become extremely important in The Kingdom Saudi Arabia. Currently education is free for all Arabic speaking citizens starting at kindergarten to secondary school. By the end of 1989 29,090 boys and 25,909 girls graduated from secondary school. In the Kingdom woman are allowed to not only complete secondary school but continue on with a higher education. 10,810 of the women that graduated at the end of 1989 continued their education in a University.
( Information above provided by journal below)
For more info on the history of education in the Kingdom please go to
JSTOR: Education

Learning Disabilities
What some Saudi mothers do to help the people they love.
Mothers help, Learning Disabilities

The focus on education in the Arab and Arab-American feminist movements would not have been incorporated into the awareness of individuals interested in this topic if it had not been for activists educating their own communities.

USAID has been heavily involved in education programs in Morocco, with a special emphasis on increasing access to basic education for young girls. An overview of the Girls’ Education Monitoring System (GEMS) and the Girls’ Education Activity (GEA) can be found in the PDF files below. USAID has also provided human rights educational programs for women in Morocco.
The Near East Foundation has also been implementing programs to keep Moroccan girls in school and provide literacy programs for adult women, especially in rural areas.