Why do women in Muslim countries not have the same rights as women in the West, such as rights for education and employment?

Gender issues the world over, including the Muslim world need urgent attention. However, the issues faced by women in the Muslim world are of a vastly different nature as compared to issues faced by women in the West.

Firstly it is important to differentiate between the status of women in Islam and the present status of women in the Muslim world. It is also important to appreciate the vast diversity of the Muslim world, with its varying levels of adherence to Islamic injunctions, with regard to the status of Muslim women. In a world-wide population of 1.5 billion Muslims, the status of women varies from culture to culture and often within the same culture. Thus the stereotypical image of the oppressed Muslim woman with limited or no access to education is just that, a stereotype based on gross misinformation.

The bedrock of the Islamic civilization was learning and intellectual striving, and women scholars have been common from the earliest days of Islam.

Limiting women’s access to higher education either openly or by tacit discrimination as happens in some countries is a violation of Islamic injunctions. It is true that in some places, parents tend to favor their sons over their daughters. This is in clear violation to the Prophetic tradition .

Social evils such as “honor” killings, domestic violence and the abuse of women exist in Muslim as well as non-Muslim cultures. They are completely anathema to the Islamic concept of adl (justice). To associate these evils with Islam is a grave injustice to the cause of women’s empowerment.

To say that women in Muslim countries do not have the same rights as women in the West assumes that the general status of women in the West is worthy of emulation by Muslim women, something that even ardent Western feminists would disagree with strongly. Germaine Greer, the renowned feminist, writes in her book “The Whole Woman” in 1999 referring to her earlier bestseller written thirty years ago:

“When The Female Eunuch was written our daughters were not cutting or starving themselves. On every side speechless women endure endless hardship, grief and pain, in a world system that creates billions of losers for every handful of winners”. (p. 3)

It is therefore important to understand that the status of Muslim women need not be viewed through the prism of the aspirations of Western women. The aberrations in the present status of Muslim women are a result of not following the teachings of Islam, rather than conforming to them. Therefore, improving the status of women in the Muslim world requires more and not less adherence to Islamic injunctions .

 

5 Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    I am a Mexican woman and I had made the desicion to convert into Islam 2 yrs ago. Ever since i am a strong believer and I know 100 percent that There is Only one God worthy of worship, and that is Allah, al-hamdulillah beacuse he chose me to become a muslim and most imprtant to understand islam. When ever i read topics like this it make me upset how some Arab Muslim men these days are so controling and do keep their wife from working and learning, how does someone deel with such a husband when Allah tells u to obey him, this is a question that i will like it to get answered by any Good strong believing Muslim, brother or sister that has knowledge to answer this question in the proper way.

    • Ron Seman says:

      I would like to know that as well.

    • oomar says:

      Asalm dear sister,1stly look to hadiths sahih,you will see what the prophet of ALLAH.[S,A,W]ADVICE N TEACHED WOMEN…in bukhari n muslims.don’t let anyone give their own point of view,am not n wil not advice you as some modern muslims will advise.ISLam Quraan n sunah are 4 life till the end sister. See how many women are having JOB n marriage life perished 1 amoung 100 of examples…Aslm a brother Umar

  2. Ron Seman says:

    Please send me links and information to put on my website. https://sites.google.com/site/buildingbridgestomuslims/

    I will gladly put any information that you have on to this website.

    Ron
    BuildingBridgesToMuslims@Gmail.Com

  3. AND Why do Islamic women have no rights to choose her life partner —- husband from Non-Islamic religions and Non-Islamic country?

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