Hasan A. Yahya, Professor of Philosophy
Many countries in North Africa, Asia, and South America still caught between archaic tradition and modernity. In advanced countries the progress in women’s position have different perceptions but still discriminate among women. To see the truth about these perceptions, look at percentages of women in administrative and managerial leadership position, and wages. In these countries, women always find themselves in a state of dependency, or let us say submission in some countries, and sharing under democratic systems. This is true in many countries where women’s rights are significantly developed, but where men are still heads of families and departments of the important decision making positions in social, political and economic spheres.
In most cultures, women are used to being placed in the “background”. A second to man, especially in systems founded on gender differentiation, where men mainly have social, economic, political and sexual privileges. In other words they have “power” over women, women being confined to the private sphere, to easily broken personality, emotionally and intellectually. Men keeping for themselves the noble sphere of public life to have responsibility to feed and control them. This remains the case in most societies despite some progress towards women’s rights to participate in social and political affairs. The situation may be, of North African and the Middle East for instance, inspite of developing women issues in a positive way in the last few decades. Since their declarations of independence, proclaimed in the second half of last centutury, Some countries have adopted positive legal texts in favour of women. Legislation recognises rights equally to women and men in theory, and there is, at the legal level, which is understood partly of no discrimination between sexes. Because in practice, discriminatory texts still exist, the reality of women position did not change much. Taking into consideration the low level of literacy among women which sometimes reach 70% promotes that position negaitively.
In most Arab and Muslim societies women, especially Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Algeria and Morocco, cultural systems remain in inferior situations. Thus, we can say that Arab and Muslim societies, trapped between the ways of life and customs of archaism in one side, and modernity in the other toward women, where ambiguity and injustice are practiced widely. The position of women in the society and in mentalities remains anachronistic, since the initial principle remains that women depend on men, in what the Muslim societies know that “al-Rijalu Qawwamuna ala al-Nisa’” . Interpretation of such saying makes people dogmatic toward women, because they believe that God does not lie. And Qur’an is the supreme source of morality. The cultural ways and perceptions toward women among Muslim and most Arab societies still find sources for backward positions, while the objective of such sayings is not the cultural interpretation of the source, but interpretation of people mentalities to deal with women.
In many countries, women’s rights are significantly developed according to social change and progressive political systems, but some inequalities between men and women encouraged to survive. The women, in the region, like all women on earth are discriminated against, with different levels of discrimination, where women take half a man’s share of an inheritance according to Islam, and have less managerial and administrative in the advanced societies. In addition to sexual exploitation of women. In Many of both advanced and developing societies, verbal repudiation in divorce (talaq) and polygamy or separation and having more than one girlfriend are maintained.
Among different factors determining identities and belongings of each individual, religion has a significant role. We must consider what the weight and influence of religious ideologies may be on the participation of Muslim women in political life and decision making. Certain other questions may apply: for instance, to what extent do reforms introduced in legal texts and especially in family codes of the these countries translate to a larger participation of women in political life? What is the position of Islamist parties towards the involvement of women in social and political bodies? And finally, what is the role of the political system dealing with these issues? The answer to these questions needs establishing factors to change men’s perceptions before accepting women as a more than half of the society everywhere, Because as one put it, women constitue half of the society and teach the other half. Thus the need cries for free-thinkers depend only on reason to find facts rather than emotions which the Arab and Muslim world still swimming in. The world is in serious need to distinguish between the needs of women and wishes of men or vise versa, in every society on earth to curb such discrimination. (783 words) www.askdryahya.com