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The Role of Women in the Middle East

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 2124 words Published: 6th Sep 2021

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There are over half a billion women in the Muslim World in Middle East. They are in Much of the world lack support of the fundamental functions of a human life. Their social Status is low and they receive lack respect by the men. Women in the Middle East also are less nourished than men, less healthy, less opportunity but more vulnerable to physical violence and sexual abuse. Women in Middle East are discriminated by men, religion or even law. They are much less likely than men to be literate or to have a professional or technical education.

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The only function of women in Middle East is producing children. But the situation has some improvement in nowadays. Some of the women in the Middle- East are standing up and try to fright for their rights. But actually, most of the women in the Middle-East, especially those who live in conservative countries, are still accept their status and the role that they play in the society. (Mahnaz Afkhami, 1996) Women need to play a ‘proper role’ in the society especially in the conservative society or countries. For example like in Saudi Arabia. The ‘proper role’ means to be a good children, good wife and good women. In the Middle East societies, most of the people are welcome to have a boy rather than girl.

There are several reasons make people prefer to have a boy. First of all, most of the middle-East countries still are the agriculture base community. Therefore, have a boy is more prefer than have a girl. It is because sons are valued for the muscle power they can provide in the fields. Also, in Middle- east there is absence of the adequate social security system. (Ramsay.m.Darik& Elsa Marston, 1996) So that sons are supposed to take care their aging parents. But girls on the other hand Often seen as an expense that will not bring family benefits, but only will work for their Husbands’ family. (Ramsay.m.Darik& Elsa Marston, 1996) Furthermore, sons can carry On family name and honor but girls cannot. Therefore, in the eyes of middle-east people Boys are more valuable than girls. This makes the status of girls is lower than boy. Due to the above reasons, the status of girl in Middle East is lower than boy. For example, Most of the name in Middle East always has positive meaning. But some of the girls’ Names have negative meaning, like ‘Dalenda’ which means destroy.

From this example, We can easy discover that the status of women in Middle East is low. (Ramsay.m.Darik& Elsa Marston, 1996). Furthermore, in Middle East most of the girls expect to do more works at home than boys. They need to wash the dishes, preparing food and taking charge of younger children. It is very common to see a child to take care a baby. Girls when they are reaching 11 years old. Then she will be require to be a prefect Islam woman. She will teach by her mother to be a ‘shy and quiet’ girl. To learn the traditional behavior and skills of Islam. They need to dress more conservative and need to obey their father, brother pr even male relatives order and advice. They are required to be a prefect girl. Base on the Koran says ‘the seeking of knowledge is a duty of every men and every women.’ Therefore, even is a girl also will have an opportunity to be educated. However, most of the conservative family in Middle East only willing to sent their girls to the Traditional school. To learn the traditional behavior and norms.

The conservative families mainly oppose to sent their girls to the modern school because they believe if a girl learns about something besides the Korans then they might try to communicate secretly with someone outsides her house. Also, the modern education is expensive. The money put on a girl would be waste when she went to live with her husband’s family. Therefore, only 38 to 44% of girls in Middle East countries would get a chance to study. (Mahnaz Afkhami, 1996) Although, the girls also can have an opportunity to be educated, but there is a ‘two society’ in middle- east. For example in Saudi- Arabia require separate schools for boys and girls. (Mahnaz Afkhami, 1996) The girl in Saudi Arabia needs work harder at school but they would not have a summer vacations or there are less recreational activities for girls. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia girls need to wear uniform, which is long- sleeved blouse, ankle length skirts or even she needs to wear abba ( Full length black cloak) to school. Moreover, the teaching sllysmulls in Saudi also is quite conservative and old- Fashioned. The schools are teaching the girls how to be a good mother. Also only encourage they be a nurse or a teacher in future but no more. Isam is the majority religion in middle- east, according to the Mohammed speaking, ‘Men have a status above women.’ And ‘men have authority over women because God has made one superior to the other.’ Due to this tradition religion, therefore, the women status in the Middle East is low.

In some extreme traditional Islamic lands such as Saudi Arabia women are expected to remain strictly obedient to men, women’s behavior is not Only the key to her family honor, but also is a key to remain the mortality in the middle East society. Therefore, the western thinking is a kind of dangerous to the traditional society. As this may lets a girl to against her family or father’s order. Moreover, the image of women in right behavior is a necessary safeguard to the culture preservation. Therefore, in many Middle East countries, like Saudi Arabia has a special enforcement Unit knows as ‘religious police’. These men aggressively watch the public for such ‘Offenses’ as women driving and unmarried couples appearing together in public. Also in Saudi Abria women are not allowed to works, study or dress as she pleased. Furthermore, she cannot drive or go out alone. Or even women have no freedom to go to other Countries alone. Women’s rights are strictly restricted. ( Martha C. Nussbaum, 2000) Protect the girls’ honor is the great and important responsibility of the father in middle East.

This led out two conservative tradition customs in the middle- east world: Female Circumcision and Honor killing. Women and girls in middle- east countries are affected no matter in urban or rural, educated or non- educated. When a girl is about 5-6 years old then she needs to be circumcised. ( Waris Divie & Cathleen Miller, 1999) It is because in the mind of people in middle- east it can prevent a girl from becoming ‘wild’ and can ensure she will remain virgin until marriage and will then remain faithful to her husband. Or even it can ‘make a girl a woman’, ‘purifies’, ‘more beautiful’. The girls in middle East believes it is another tool for the men to control the women in middle-east. However, the circumcision is quite dangerous to the women. It can result in permanent physical and emotional damage also can cause infections or fatal. (Ramsay.m.Darik& Elsa Marston, 1996) so it really is a horrible tradition in the Middle East world. Moreover, if a girl has a Misbehavior then her father or brother will have a right to kill her without serious Punishment. It is because they need to protect the name and honor of their family. Traditionally, the honor of the family depends on the behavior of its female members. So that it is very important for the family to protect female sexual purity. Need to protect the women from sexual misbehavior. Base on the Koran ‘God created sexual desire in 10 parts.

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Then he gave 9 parts to women and 1 part to men.’ So women must be closely watched. Therefore, in her family’s eyes the longer a daughter waits before marrying, the greater chance that she will ‘disgrace herself’ with some men. So that most of the girls in Middle East is early married. But the traditional marriage watch in Middle East is lack of Romanic moves but just like a Kind of business. The parents choose the husband for their girl only base on one reason ‘Is this marriage is a right match?’ The marriage usually is like a kind of alliance Between two families. Furthermore, the marriage will bring the economic and social Advantages to both families. The girl in Middle East usually has to marry a man she has never met. Or even parents suppose their daughter to marry with an older man. Girls act Like an asset of the family. So the family would like to sell their girls at the highest price. So a girl may be expected to marry a man who can bring the economic benefit to her Family. If the girl wants to disobey her father’s choice then the only way for her can do is run away or attempt suicide. This really is a tragedy in the Middle East world. Wife must need to obey her husband as the male has a dominance status in the middle- East world. According to the Koran says ‘If a wife is rebellious, then her husband should Admonish her, punish her to her couch and strike her.’ Therefore, the religious gives the Men a right to hit their wife. So the domestic violence is quite common in the Middle East. Also, in the Middle East world polygamy is allowed. That mean man can have more than One wife. Islam allows a man to have up to 4 wives. This is very common in some Conservative countries like in Saudi Arabia. But in fact, women can gain more power When they become older.

They will handle the right of household finances, discipline children and not hesitate to speak her mind. In Middle East, it is quite easy for a man to divorce his wife anytime. But if divorce the men need to pay all married cash to his wife’s family and the women can keep the gold, jewelly, clothing and need to move back into her father’s or brother’s household, under the eye of her male relative. In the tradition view, a wife’s primary job is to bear and raise children- especially boys. They are not encouraged to go out for working. It is because working and earning living is the man’s responsibility. In fact, if a woman need to go out for working. Then it is a sign to show that her husband cannot support her living. This really is a shameful to the male. But even, the woman can go out for working. However, there is still sex segregation in some countries. In Saudi Arabia, women can only be a teacher, nurse and mother. The government is restricting the woman to manage business, travel aboard to study, eat in restaurant. Also, women only can work in the restaurant, hospital, newspaper and magazine which for women only. Both in the west and middle east societies, veiling is the popular word for the practice by which a woman conceals her hair and body and sometimes her face. A more accurate term is bijah. The reason for the women to wear the bijah is to hide the sight of woman’s beauty.

Furthermore, it turns their thoughts away from pious, proper behavior: an adolescent youth suffers from frustrated sexual desire and a middle aged man thinks of discarding his wife and finding a much younger and beautiful woman. All of these would led the society become instability. So it is a responsibility for women to prevent these things happen. So they need to put on the veil. Moreover, some of the women to go out to the society and can move more freely and not bothered by men. Otherwise, an unveiled woman would likely receive cold stares and insults. Therefore, a woman veiled may say that she feels greater freedom and more safety than she did before adopting the bijah. Furthermore, a veiled woman can prove that she is a good Islam woman and other people will respect her and regard her only as a coworker, fellow students and not as a ‘sex object’. Another advantage of the veil is allowed woman stop thinking about her looks and to move concentrate on the important things, such as her job, study and family. Lastly, a girl who covers her face can make her parent to believe her she will behave properly and not attract improper attention. This makes it easier for a girl to go out and spend times with her friends without bother.

To conclude, in fact in some Middle East countries the women status has some Remarkable improvement. They can be more independence. There is increasing numbers of women have no men to support them. They can go out for working like in Libya woman even can be a soldier. More and more women love working and see their works as an expression of individual ability, self esteem and growth. Also, more women are choosing to remain independent, postponing or refusing marriage. They even want to work after marriage. Some of them even said they would not marry with a man who wanted them to give up their career. This is really is a sign of improvement in Middle East world. But there is still a long struggle for the women in Middle East to fight for their better life and rights.


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