What's the Latest?
Al-Arabiya News reported today that Algeria's president has promoted three female military officers to the rank of general. This makes Algeria the country with the most high-ranking female military officials in the Arab World. The move comes after years of pressure on president Abdel Aziz Bouteflika to take strides in improving opportunities for women. The Algerian leader made history in 2010 when he appointed Fatima Arjoun the first female general in Algeria's history. Arjoun had been a veteran of the Algerian War for Independence.
What's the Big Idea?
Despite the generals' promotions and the country's position as one of the region's most secular, Algerian women are still restricted by the nation's Family Code. President Bouteflika has supported abolishing the Code, though the response to his proposal has been tepid at best. Still, the move to further incorporate women into the upper ranks of the military is a very certain step toward the breaking down of traditional barriers.
Algeria has so far sat on the sidelines as many of its neighbors have undergone recent insurgencies and regime changes. This is because Algeria fought its own Islamist insurgency during the 1990s and the scars of the conflict still burn today. The nineties is often called a lost decade for Algeria and represented a major setback for the nation's women, but the years since have offered small glimmers of hope for female Algerians.
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