Ms Katja Zvan Elliott is a final year DPhil candidate at St Antony's. Her thesis is a critical approach to the reformed Moroccan Family Code as the symbol of the country’s professed progress in the realm of women’s rights. She focuses on the case of educated single adult girls because it is particularly them, who, though actively renegotiating their space and rights recognised by the state, carefully tread within the confines of locally delineated patriarchal rules of gendered propriety. Patriarchy is modernised yet reaffirmed by the extent of development discourse, family, penal, and labour legal reforms, and the specific socio-economic conditions of particular communities, which force educated girls to return to their home communities after they graduate only to hold low-paying jobs. Adding education to women’s status shows that although education is generally accepted as a positive and welcome attribute, there can be negative consequences to being ‘too’ educated.  These educated single adult girls from provincial areas may be poster girls for the development community, but they are actually pitied by their own communities, in which they must live.

The Women’s Rights Research Seminar at Oxford was founded in 2009 with the initial aim of directing interdisciplinary scholarly attention to the condition of women in Iran. Since then, the research group has broadened its purview to the condition and rights of women in the Middle East, covering topics such as the politics of fertility, women in ethnic minorities, and the treatment of women in states governed and influenced by Islamic law and jurisprudence. WRRS welcomes seminar and paper proposals from any discipline.  Enquiries: Binesh Hass (