The People's Democratic Republic of Algeria has an estimated population of 35.4 million (UN, 2010). The capital is Algiers. Algeria has an area of 2.4 million sq km (919,595 sq miles). The main languages are Arabic, French, and Berber.
A former French colony, Algeria is recovering from decades of violence. The fight for independence from France, which occurred throughout the 1950’s, killed more than a million Algerians. Independence was finally achieved in 1962. The country was once again beset by brutal internal violence during the 1992 elections. Despite the overall decrease in violence since the 1990s, the country is facing instability through a campaign of terror carried out by Al-Qaeda in the land of Islamic Maghreb (AQLIM).
Due to the country's history and the big influence of Islamist groups over the past 20 years, the situation of women in Algeria is very difficult. Women are largely discriminated against because the family code which is closely linked to the Islamic Sharia Law. However, in 2003 the government amended the family code to highlight women by creating the Ministry of Women's Affairs. Although there are government efforts to improve women's rights, progress in this area remains slow.