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Women and the Algerian War

            The Algerian War for Independence became a catalyst for change. It was a war that inspired many to fight against an oppressive system that had held onto them since the 1830s. It brought many people together in order to achieve the common goal of gaining independence. It brought men and women together, and women were even considered equals, in a patriarchal society. Due to this newfound sense of equality, it was expected that there would be more progress towards women rights and that this idea would be permanent. However, it was not the case. Despite the involvement of women in the war for independence in Algeria, Algerian women still did not gain full equality.
             For many years, even before the war, Maliki Islamic laws, influenced the culture of Algeria. Due to this, before the war, men had more power than women. Male members of the kin group were allowed to have control over the key decisions of women (Charrad 1990). For example, a woman did not have to give consent when it came to marriage. Instead, her guardian, be it her father or another male in the kinship line, was able to make the decision for her. Also according to Maliki laws, divorce was the right of the husband, and the wife would only be allowed to divorce the husband only under very extreme circumstances (Charrad 1990). The Maliki laws even regulated inheritance. In most cases, women would receive only half of what a man would inherit in the same situation and distant male relatives from the man's were actually favored over the wife (Charrad 1990). .
             Once the war began in 1954, an opportunity for gender equality opened up. According to Lazreg (1994), the FLN, Front de Libération Nationale, began to spread propaganda in order to gain women support. These propagandas would even claim that "women could only achieve equality by fighting for a country freed from colonial domination" (Vince 2010: 446). They would also publish publications about strong women role models in hopes that they would gain females to join.

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