Algeria is a Muslim nation, but its policies toward the rights of women differs sharply from that of other nations in the Arab world. In Algeria, women drive trains, hold positions as judges and make up a majority of students in college. Since the end of the deadly civil war beween radical Islamists and he government, Algeria has been in a state of flux. There are more girls enrolled in high school than boys, and almsot 61% of university graduates are women. Journalist Zeinab Ben Zita, noted, “education is many women’s only window on the outside world.”
Algeria is a fairly young nation and its couontry is also young with half the population under the age of 25. There is extensive unemployment among young men. But, women appear to be more eager to learn,more flexible and make better use of opportunities. Women now constitute about one-third of the work force. Over half of univeristy staff, 60% of hospital employees, 30% of judges and over 55% of journalists are women. Thirty women sit in parliament and several hold senior government positions.
Algeria’s Constitution ensures equal rights for men and woemn. However, the Family Code passed in 1984, has reversed many of those rights. Women in Algeria have the right for a divorce since 2005 but they cannot marry without peermission and the signature of a male relative. Algerian family law still classifies women as minors.
The movement of women into the economy and education ensures within the coming years some of the discriminatory practices will change and eventually they will achieve equal rights.