Treatment of women in the Middle East is a very controversial issue today. There is a huge belief that women are underpaid and underappreciated in the Middle East. Is it true?
Society is a huge power. This very general term describes human beings who live and act side by side. It is nothing chaotic. It doesn’t refer to anyone or anything separately. It is about a unity that acts through its rules and laws which can be found in no constitution worldwide.
Those laws are unwritten based on customs, traditional and cultural features. It is nearly impossible for a society to be guided by legislation only. Sometimes the legislation itself fit for the unwritten ones with very small deviations.
In case of women, these very societies act somehow unequally. Of course, there are famous women politicians, business ladies and other women who dared to intervene in “men’s affairs”. And they are quite successful. But gender discrimination and bias is not about those things.
It is about family relationships, likes and dislikes, basic rights and opportunities many women do not have worldwide. Such stuff might seem very trivial but it matters more than you think. Women are still deprived of many things we do not even pay attention to.
What is the situation in the Middle East? What is the treatment of women in the Middle East? Today I’ll try to tackle this very vulnerable issue.
Treatment of Women in the Middle East in General
In the Muslim world, such behavior of society is especially common. It is neither enforced by law nor has to do with UN’s agreement on human rights.
It is something drawn from culture, religion and local mindset. It has been embodied in every aspect of life including the way they treat women. This is why treatment of women in the Middle East is of higher interest and concern at a time. But there is something remarkable about Muslim countries.
Just because Middle Eastern countries are quite tough toward women one can get quite stereotypical imagery about them. But such attitude varies from country to country in the Islamic world.
Besides, women’s rights are of huge concern around the world. In other words, it knows no boundaries. Women have to fight for equality even in the cradle of democracy-America.
Anyway, let’s kill down the number of countries that still face the problem and tackle treatment of women in the Middle East.
Perhaps you are aware of some facts but there is good news as well. Some Muslim societies take measures to get rid of the sexist model of their society which violates women’s rights.
Treatment of Women in the Middle East: Education is a Privilege of Muslim Boys
Though Islam is one of the supporters of education, well it is mentioned in Koran at least, women still face inequality in Muslim countries in terms of education. They are not either allowed to go to school or university or they should get their guardians consent.
Locals are sure that as far as the boy is the one who stays at home and cares for his parents he should be granted the chance to study. The image of women is portrayed at home only. Given the case of Saudi Arabia treatment of women in the Middle East in terms of education is still an ongoing battle.
In this country, girls are not allowed to go to the same class with boys. However, according to some statistics, the situation has changed and there is progress in women’s education. They comprise 51.8% of Saudi university students. Perhaps the state has already recognized the social impacts of an educated woman.
Treatment of Women in the Middle East: Several Travelling Issues
Once you get a Schengen visa you are granted the opportunity to set out on a journey across Europe. Do it with friends or family member. But if prefer to travel alone never mind. Board a jumbo plane and let your Europe trip begins. You will get a bunch of amazing emotions and experience.
Anyhow, you will ask why am I sharing such common knowledge or what does it have to do with the treatment of women in the Middle East? The connection is very direct.
You can travel across the world freely without anything that will hinder. You won’t be treated with hatred in your neighborhood or won’t need someone to accompany you unless you are under 18 or just have a wish.
You are very lucky because Muslim women can not do it that freely. Why? To leave the country a Muslim woman has to get a permission from her dad or a guardian. More shocking facts follow.
Actually, women have various degrees of free traveling in Arab countries. Several countries prohibit them from walking around alone. Can you imagine? You have to take a male guardian with you just to go to the local shop, for instance.
However, others do not impose such a ban but there is another issue. A woman without a guardian can be harassed in the street. Yep! This is too much but still, Middle Eastern women face it.
Moreover, they can not talk to random men even if in need of help. In some countries, women are not allowed to drive as well. This is what the society demands.
However, amendments are no exception in this aspect as well. Now women in Saudi Arabia are allowed to get a driving license.
Treatment of Women in the Middle East: Early Child Marriage Concerns
This issue is not peculiar to the Middle East only. However, the problem is much more evident in these countries. It goes without saying that premature marriage is a women’s rights’ violation.
Unfortunately, laws cannot deal with the problem as there are many other causes in early child marriage that lie in more cultural and sometimes trivial things. Poverty, religion, sense of protection, financial relationship and societal norms demand it.
However, there is a green light for such girls as well. As an Islamic state Egypt has granted women the right to divorce their husbands. This actually gives premature girls to avoid the results of child marriage.
In many Middle Eastern countries, however, women do not have such an opportunity but Egypt comes to prove that there is no deadlock without the smallest way out even in the ”Muslim style” of treatment of women in the Middle East.
Treatment of Women in the Middle East: Employment Conditions
Although Muslims are sure that a woman’s most important role and “job” is motherhood Muslim women are also allowed to work.
However, they should be ready to face a bunch of challenges. The society has prepared several guidelines she has to follow.
Before getting the job she must make sure that her husband and children are properly taken care of. Her job must not ban her from wearing hijab or praying. The list is simply endless.
Progress in Treatment of Women in the Middle East
Women issues remain acute in the Middle East and in the Arab world in general. However, I couldn’t miss the amendments and improvements that happen in these countries.
In reality, Arab countries vary in terms of Islamic severities. Women enjoy political and social rights in many Muslim countries.
Tunisia, for instance, abortion is legal. As for polygamy, it is prohibited. Women have served as ministers in the Syrian, Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi, and Tunisian governments.
Moreover, vice president in Iran is a woman as well. All these changes definitely bring to the improvement of civic liberties in Muslim societies.
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