Fida Adely: Gendered Paradoxes

Washington, DC

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The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies

is pleased to celebrate the release of Dr. Fida Adely's new book,

Gendered Paradoxes:

Educating Jordanian Women in Nation, Faith, and Progress


In Gendered Paradoxes Fida Adely takes readers into the halls of a Jordanian public School – al-Khatwa High School for Girls – to examine how the young women there are facing the great social and economic challenges of today’s Jordan. The demographic picture in Jordan – with highly educated women largely remaining outside the formal job market for most of their adult lives – prompted the World Bank in 2005 to label the country a “gender paradox,” but Adely argues that this assessment is a fallacy. Showing that the important place of education in Jordan should not be calculated solely through an employment lens, she raises fundamental questions about what constitutes development, progress, and empowerment, not just for the girls of al-Khatwa High School but for women throughout the Middle East.

Gendered Paradoxes is a path-breaking study that challenges orthodoxies about women, education, and development in the Arab world (and elsewhere). Unique in the balance it strikes between sophisticated analysis and engaging ethnography, it opens our eyes both to the complexity of real girls’ experiences of schooling in Jordan and the flaws in standard theories about why education matters.  By far the best analysis of contemporary Jordanian society and culture I have read—taking on sensitive issues of family, nationalism, religion, and morality—this lucid book will become a classic. One can hope that it will also transform debates about gender and development.” - Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University

Fida Adely is assistant professor and Clovis and Hala Salaam Maksoud Chair in Arab Studies at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. 

 Light refreshments will be served.


Marina Krikorian

Public Affairs Coordinator

phone: 202-687-6215