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Female lawyers in Egyptian and Lebanese films over the last 75 years: caretakers and anomalies with limited back stories

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journal contribution
revised on 2024-02-11, 06:02 and posted on 2024-02-11, 06:20 authored by Hilary Christina Bell, Aisha Al-Naama

Women in the Arab world have never had better access to education and professional careers. Despite this, gender stereotypes are hampering women’s progression towards gender equality. This article considers how the representation of women in film is contributing to the issue. The representation of female lawyers in Lebanese and Egyptian cinema over the last 75 years demonstrates gender disparity. On the scarce occasions when female lawyers are represented, they are confined to a caretaker role and associated with family disputes. By associating female lawyers with the family, they are put into the traditional Arab role of a woman, reinforcing the imbedded stereotypes that hamper the career progression of Arab women. We do not see male family members contributing to family obligations, which would demonstrate a significant move towards gender parity. Female lawyers are often defined by a relationship, romantic or otherwise, with a male protagonist. This perpetuates the patriarchal norm that Arab women are subordinate to their male relatives. There has been a shift towards greater gender equality in the representation of female lawyers in contemporary portrayals in Lebanese cinema. However, female lawyers still most often appear in isolation, giving them the status of an anomaly, the “Other”.

Other Information

Published in: International Journal of the Legal Profession
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2023

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Law - HBKU