This is a critical assessment of the intellectual and theoretical underpinnings of Feminism in the Arab world across the different phases in its evolution. The paper notes what has been achieved in respect of some specific issues but takes the view that overall the movement has failed to transform the views, consciousness and situation of most Arab women. Attempts to incorporate and/or redefine women's aspirations and roles in Islamic terms are seen as having taken over from earlier feminist voices. Where these voices do remain they are confined to a narrow intellectual elite and have failed to galvanize or inform women across the socio-economic spectrum. The article concludes that the contemporary feminist movement is repeating the same errors as in the past by adopting intellectual perspectives that do not suit the intellectual, ideological and value foundations of Arab culture. There is a need, therefore, to revise the intellectual foundations of the movement and make a rapprochement between this current and the reality of Arab societies.

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