From The Guardian:
A common theme since the Arab uprisings started has been the celebration of the role of women in the protests. Some have even gone so far as to say that the "stereotype of the submissive, repressed victim has been shattered by female protesters in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen". I am not sure that women on the ground in these countries feel the same way, or feel that their participation in the protests is unprecedented.
While the prominence of women in the revolutions has been moving, there is a psychology behind celebrating and glorifying women's political activity when it is part of a popular push. In these times women are almost tokenised by men as the ultimate downtrodden victims, the sign that things are desperate, that even members of the fairer sex are leaving their hearths and taking to the streets. The perception isn't that women are fighting for their own rights, but merely that they are underwriting the revolution by bringing their matronly dignity to the crowd like some mascot.