I'd like to know if my impression is correct: that women in the Middle East enjoyed substantially better rights and respect around the 50s-70s than they did before and after, owing largely to the power of secular dictators supported by the USSR, and thus influenced by their seemingly egalitarian ideology? I recall seeing documentaries where Egyptian women in the 60s were wearing pretty much western clothing, down to the swimwear, which is unthinkable in today's Egypt.
The main counter point I can think of is that women in Iran also seemed to have it better before the Islamic revolution, and the Shah's anti-communist regime was backed by the USA. So perhaps it was something in the zeitgeist of the time which was a mix of various liberal and socialist influences?
This article gives a taste of the contrast:
Why is it that men did not harass Egyptian women when they wore short skirts but that sexual harassment has increased against women in head scarves? When ultraconservative doctrine dehumanizes women, reducing them to objects, it legitimizes acts of sexual aggression against them.
I would like someone who is familiar with the subject matter to explain what the reality was, preferably citing something to justify their analysis.