Why is Saudi Arabia the worst country

Egypt "worst" Arab country for women

A study shows increasing sexual assault on women and warns of the influence of Islamist groups. The Comoros received top marks.

In no other Arab country are women treated as badly as in Egypt. In a study by the renowned "Thomsons Reuters Foundation", which compared the situation of women in 22 Arab countries, the country on the Nile comes off worst: The reasons for this include increasing sexual assaults on women and the growing influence of misogynist Islamist groups.

A total of 330 gender experts in countries of the Arab League and Syria were interviewed. Other factors such as violence against women, the role of women in the family, women's rights in legislation, and whether and how many women are represented in politics or business were examined.

Comoros do the best

The Comoros received top marks: the small island nation has most of the women ministers (20 percent) in the Arab world. Oman, Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar also performed well.

In Egypt, however, according to the study, it is not only "misogynist laws" that discriminate against women. Egyptian women are also exposed to brutal acts of violence without the authorities doing anything about it.

"There are whole villages near Cairo whose main economic sources of income are trafficking in women and forced marriages," says a women's rights activist for the BBC.

Sexual assault socially accepted

A big problem since the widespread social acceptance of sexual assault on women: A UN study in April found that 99.3 percent of Egyptian women were sexually molested.

Restrictions on personal freedoms, massive legal discrimination and virtually no female presence in politics or business make Saudi Arabia the second worst country in the study after Egypt. After all, the strictly Islamist country fared better than other Arab states on factors such as women's education and health. In the rock-rich oil country, women also seem to be better protected from violence than in other countries.

In the study, the civil war country Syria and the strictly Islamic Yemen performed only slightly better than Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Iraq also ranks at the bottom when it comes to women's security: violence against women - and the acceptance of sexual assault - have "increased massively" since the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein.