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Women's Rights in the Middle East

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Mei Kuei Bohannan

on 26 March 2013

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Transcript of Women's Rights in the Middle East

WOMEN IN THE QU'RAN HISTORY CULTURAL NORMS The equality for women is an internationally proclaimed human rights. However, many cultures still deny women of equal treatment. The mistreatment of women in these cultures brings up a debate of global concept of human rights verse cultural relativism. However, men and women following Islam do NOT see all the of the Islamic customs as restrictions; but rather as protections for the women. CURRENT EVENTS: WOMEN & DRIVING Mei Kuei Bohannan, Andres Chenlo, Haydn Flores, Kaitlyn Fulcher, Elizabeth Huntley, Angelica Villafana Maria, Ayana McLemore, Suzan Noser, Wendy Yan Women's Rights in the Middle East Once Islam was introduced in to the Arabian peninsula, the status of women relatively improved. It became no longer accepted to kill or harm newborn females infants because of their sex. This shift occurred because according to the Qur'anic decrees, both men and women have the same duties and responsibilities in their worship of God. Stating, "I will not suffer to be lost the work of any of you whether male or female. You proceed on from another" (Qur'an 3:195) 7th
Century In Arabic states, though there has been no official head of state, historically there have been many women that strongly represented their country and influenced their husbands in matters of the state. (Ex. Razia Sultana & Jehan Al Sadat, wife of Anwar El Sadat) Razia Sultana was a Muslim princess in India who ruled during both the Sultanae and Mughal period. She was trained to lead armies and administer kingdoms. Other women like Sultana lead from behind the scenes during other time periods. 13th
Century Jehan Al Sadat was the first lady of Egypt. She served as a role model for women in her country and helped change the image of Arab women during the 70's. She has a key role in creating Egypt's civil rights laws during the late 70's. 1970-
1981 The first female member of Parliament in Arab states was Rawya Ateya who was elected in Egypt. The role of women in politics in Arab societies is dependent on the willingness of the countries' leadership to support a female representative. It is also reflective of women's involvement in public life. 1957 Women in Arab countries are allowed to vote, with the exception of Saudia Arabia, who states that they will let women vote in future elections... Today WOMEN
WORKFORCE Women in Education vs. Workforce Motives for Education Challenges in the Workforce Gender & Class Women go to universities to find a more successful husbands to marry.
It is also a way to fill up time before getting married.
Attending a university gives more opportunity to socialize and make friends.
Women sees this as the last few years of freedom before they are restricted by family life Male guardian's permission
Social constraints
Gender Expectations
Gender discrimination laws
Harassment at work
Structural challenges Do you agree or disagree with the following statement:
Women should be allowed to hold any job for which they are qualified outside the home. The Prophet Muhammad had eleven wives in his lifetime, and had 9 wives when he died. Now followers believe they can have up to four wives at once as long as they treat them justly. These wives live completely individual lives often times with no contact with each other, even living in different cities. The husbands often collect land and dowry from these marriages. Meanwhile, women can only have one husband at a time. Female Genital Mutilation Polygamy This is a practice seen at since the birth of Islam. The surgical procedure is used for many reasons such as to ensure virginity until marriage, increase male sexual pleasure, reduce the sexual desire in the female, keep the female more hygienic, religious or traditional purposes, and more. LEGISLATION On International Women’s Day in 2008, Wajeha al-Huwaider, co-founder of the Association for the Protection and Defense of Women's Rights, drove defiantly on a main high way and posted a video of herself doing so on Youtube. She had hoped that within the year the ban on women driving would be lifted, sadly this wasn’t the case. In Saudi Arabia, fatwa restricts women from driving automobiles even though it is not against the law.
However, this is no longer accepted by the women it restricts. This fatwa is gaining support as a violation of women's rights. In 2007, the Associations for the Protecting and Defense of Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia submitted a 1,100 signature petition to King Abdullah asking for women to be allowed to drive. WOMEN 2 DRIVE
Online Movement In 2011, Manal al-Shariff and a group of other women started a Facebook campaign to encourage women to drive in Saudi Arbia.
Manal al-Shariff followed in the footsteps of al-Huwaider, posting a video of her driving. She was arrested for a short period of time for driving without a proper license. Thousands of women in Saudi Arabia expressed their support for the campaign. Not only in Saudi Arabi, but around the world as well. Protests were held in both Washington D.C. and Minnesota. As of now, the ban still exists but those who oppose this ban have not given up the fight.
M.I.A recently released a music video that is in support of women drivers in Saudi Arabia. In July, Princess al-Taweel expressed her opposition to the driving ban on NPR in the U.S. and called for women to have equal rights in the workforce, in the legal system, and in education. In 1990, dozens of women were arrested for circling Riyadhi in cars. CURRENT EVENTS: HONOR KILLINGS Father and second wife admitted they were motivated by the daughters permissive behavior, Through wiretapped conversations and testimony they were found 3 Afghan immigrant Family members (Mohammed SHafia/the father, Tooba Yahya/one wife, and Hamed/the son) were convicted of first-degree murder of Shafia’s three teenage daughters and his first wife in his polygamous marriage guilty of carrying out a premeditated “honor” murder by running the family car carrying the 4 women off the road and into a canal Zainab had run off to marry a Pakistani man they hated, Sahar wore revealing clothes and had secret boyfriends, Geeti was failing in school and calling social workers to get her out of home turmoil, and the first wife Rona they claimed encouraged the daughters in their behavior. All three sentenced
to life in prison There is some hope in the fact that law-enforcement are beginning to take notice and hold abusers accountable. For example, In 2012, six women died over the course of six months due to incidents involving their husbands of fathers-in-law Currently there is no official registry of domestic-violence attacks that exists in America along with little legislation to protect against domestic violence and nearly zero state funds available for the protection and treatment of victims of domestic violence hi Haykanush Mikayelian just received a ten-month sentence in 2012 for abusing her 23-year-old daughter-in-law since 2009. Her abuses involved burning her with an iron and cigarette lighter, regularly beatings, as well as keeping her locked up in doors. As this example shows, it is not only Middle Eastern men but also women who contribute to violence against other women. Unfortunately, there is not much hope for extensive progress, considering the government recently blocked passage of what would have been the country’s first domestic-violence law on January 21st. Bibliography CULTURAL NORMS CURRENT EVENTS RELIGION HISTORY WOMEN IN THE
WORKFORCE Newton, Paula. "Family convicted in Canada 'honor murders'." CNN. 30 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 Jan. <http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/29/world/americas/canada-honor-murder/index.html>. Abrahamyan, Gayane. "Domestic Violence and Armenia’s Failed Response." Safe World for Women. N.p., Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://www.asafeworldforwomen.org/domestic-violence/dv-europe/dv-armenia/3732-failed-response.html>. Baig, Rabail. "The dishonorable defense of honor." Foreign Policy. N.p., 22 Aug. 2012. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://afpak.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/08/22/the_dishonorable_defense_of_honor> Saudi women driving for change. Al Jazeera English, 17 June 2011. YouTube. Web. 9 Mar. 2013. Shubert, Atika. "Saudi woman claims she was detained for driving." CNN. N.p., 27 May 2011. Web. 3 Mar. 2013. <http://edition.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/meast/05/21/saudi.women.drivers/>. M.I.A. - "Bad Girls" (Official Video). Noisey, 2 Feb. 2012. YouTube. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. "Saudi women make video protest." BBC NEWS. 11 Mar. 2008. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7159077.stm>. "Polygamy." Polygamy: Islam. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy>. Schaus, Rachel. "Culture and Customs." Middle Eastern Culture Site. Bella Online: The Voice of Women, 2013. Web. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <Middle Eastern Culture Site>. Ferraro, Vinny. "History and Culture." Female Genital Mutilation . mtholyoke, n. d. Web. Web. 19 Mar. 2013. <http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~mcbri20s/classweb/worldpolitics/page1.html>. In 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325. This is the first law, required to be respected by all states that gives rights and protection to women and girls during and after armed conflicts. Percentage who agree in 22 Arab countries: Crabtree, Steve. "Two-Thirds of Young Arab Women Remain Out of Workforce." Gallup World. 02 Apr 2012: n. page. Print. <http://www.gallup.com/poll/153659/two-thirds-young-arab-women-remain-workforce.asp&xgt;. Davies, Catriona. "Mideast women beat men in education, lose out at work." CNN inside the Middle East. 06 Jun 2012: n. page. Print. <http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/01/world/meast/middle-east-women-education/index.html>. Hoare, Rose. "Saudi female entrepreneurs exploit changing attitudes." CNN Leading women. 08 Jun 2012: n. page. Print. <http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/30/business/saudi-female-entrepreneurs/index.html>. LEGISLATION
Elizabeth, MayerAnne. "Law and Women in the Middle East." Cultural Survival.
Cultural Survival, 17 May 2010. Web. 8 Mar. 2013. <http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/law-and-women-middle-east>. TRADITIONAL
ISLAMIC LAW Child marriages were allowed - a girl could be forced into marriage by a qualified male relation
While a women could marry only one man at a time, men were allowed up to four wives and an unlimited number of concubines Women were legally required to be submissive and obedient to their husbands; were they not, their husbands were entitled to beat them and to suspend all maintenance payments (obedience included never leaving the house without the husband's blessings) A husband could get the assistance of the police to forcibly return his wife to the marital home if she were absent without his leave
The women's contacts with persons outside the family were similarly subject to restriction at her husband's wishes.
Women inherit nothing The requirements of Islamic law regarding women have been secured over centuries, mainly because so many of them are set forth in the text of the Qur'an. Thus, European influences, which dominated the Middle East in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries both politically and culturally, did not lead to a desertion of Islamic law in the areas of family law and inheritance even though other areas of law were being Westernized through the borrowing of European law codes. Since gaining their independence from Europe, most Middle Eastern governments have started legal reforms directed at reducing the inequalities between men and women. However, they have to face religious forces, who charge them with violating the Divine Law. In other Middle Eastern countries, governments had to negotiate in attempts to improve women's status. Typically, various reforms were enacted via statutes, including such measures as: The only country of the Middle East to resist has been Saudi Arabia. There, women suffer disabilities beyond those required by most interpretations of Islamic law, such as being required to be totally veiled anytime they appear in public, and being forbidden to drive anywhere.
The legal status of women in the Middle East is currently unstable and problematic. It is clear that whatever progress was made in the area of women's rights is not irreversible. Raising the age of marriage and requiring a bride's consent
placing conditions on a husband's polygamy
reducing the legal support for husband's right to demand obedience
enhancing the ability of wives to obtain divorces over their husband's objections
increasing a husband's financial liabilities to divorced wives
restricting a husband's ability to divorce his wife out of court and without cause
some very modest reforms in the law of inheritance to the advantage of female heirs. [004:034]  Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because God has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what God would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For God is Most High, great (above you all). And if you be apprehensive that you will not be able to do justice to the orphans, you may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife, or marry those who have fallen in your possession. (Surah 4:3) "For Muslim men and women, for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in charity, for men and women who fast, for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in Allah's praise, for them has Allah prepared forgiveness and great reward."
[Quran 33:35] "Women shall with justice have rights similar to those exercised against them, although men have a status above women." Quran 2:228

"A male shall inherit twice as much as a female." Quran 4:11, "3Qs: Women’s rights in the Middle East." news@Northeastern. N.p. , 16 Nov. 2012. Web. 29 Feb. 2013. <http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2012/11/walters/>.

Hassan, Fayza. "Jehan El-Sadat: Destinies forged anew." Al-Ahram Weekly On-line. Al-Ahram, 3 Aug. 2000. Web. 29 Feb. 2013. <http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/493/profile.htm>.

"World Report 2012: Saudi Arabia." HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH. N.p., Web. 30 Feb. 2013. <http://www.hrw.org/world-report-2012/world-report-2012-saudi-arabia>. The Qu'Ran 1970-1987 Most all Muslim women cover their heads - it is necessary to be modest and to protect the honor of the family. Women who cover their heads are also considered by Muslim followers to be more mysterious, desirable, and modest. It is their desire to wear them; they are not suppressed into doing so. It is to “afford a woman the anonymity and protection from unwelcome stares when out in public”
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