In accepting the Nobel Peace Prize last year, Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman thanked women of the Arab world for her medal. Without their struggle to win equal rights, she would not be there, she said.
The greatest challenge in that quest is not religion but the lack of economic and social development and a dearth of perceived security, said a Gallup Poll released Monday.
"The idea that coming in with a secular liberal social program as the solution to fixing how societies view women isn't supported by the evidence," said Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies.
She said the women in the Middle East have very much the same priorities as women in America. They want to lead prosperous lives.
"The research shows that human development and overall education and economic empowerment are the most important interventions we can make to help women's rights," Mogahed said.
The Gallup report urged policymakers to allow Arab women's own priorities to guide efforts at gender equality.
Gallup conducted multiple surveys of 1,000 people each time in Egypt, Bahrain, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen and Libya.FULL STORY