Women in the Arab World
The cliché image many depict of Arab woman is of a girl oppressed and forced into marriage. Women in Arab societies often catch themselves torn between culture and opportunity (Liloia, 2020). The "Arab Family" has long been characterized as a patriarchal entity, with family laws serving to perpetuate patriarchal gender roles and women's inferior status within the family. The existence of sexism is a point of debate, and some feminist scholars contend that patriarchy still exists in capitalist cultures (MOGHADAM, 2004).
The rise in gender-based sexual harassment should be addressed, as it is unacceptably high and should reach an end. A closed mindset is destructive to the evolutionary process. The developmental mechanism is harmed by this closed mentality. The world around the Middle East evolves, but, with time, the region falls backwards and maximizes male dominance, power, and strength. According to the 2016 Global Gender Gap Study, no government in the world has reached absolute gender equality, but the Arab world ranks last. Women’s mobility, for example, is limited and restricted. They have limited access to basic utilities or work. Some of the proverbs related to gender roles are: "In politics, if you want anything, ask a man", "Woman can't be leaders" ... In this manner, men limit women’s mobility and her right to lead.
This reflects the discrimination and sexism that exist and how Arabs see women. Gender behavior varies according to place, culture, history, and time. Instability is becoming the standard in many Arab countries. The presence of long-term humanitarian crises in Arab countries, including those in Lebanon, have crushed social security structures, limited access to safe support and information services, and raised tensions. Women are more vulnerable in emergencies. The threat of violence is high, especially for women who belong to minority groups.
What is feminism? Doesn’t it reflect gender-based discrimination? How does it relate to sexism? Feminism is a series of social and political movements and philosophies aimed at achieving gender equality in social, political, and economic terms. It is a campaign for women’s rights. It is an advocacy. Who says you can’t have it all as woman? What are the gender-based roadblocks? These are questions that go through the minds of women as they deal with the effects of injustice in the Arab world.
The struggles of women in developing countries is not a narrow, outspoken ideology focused on defending the female body at all costs. It is recognized that equality for women and an increase in their status will only be achieved as society as a whole progresses. Internationally, it is acknowledged that all forms of racism, whether political or religious, should be resisted.
When managers need to recruit, unconscious gender biases decide who is viewed as having leadership qualities. Even when a woman behaves as a head, her skills are less likely to be appreciated or spoken about. Moreover, women are less likely to be praised for their accomplishments, which is a hard pill to swallow for females. Furthermore, the standard profile of a front-runner is a male. This implicit sexism, as well as the fact that any woman who goes above and beyond to prove herself is insulted by male leaders or defeated by other females, is a harsh reality.
It is also unfortunate that women are less likely to be supportive of one another in the Arab culture and community. Additionally, studies have shown that women do not tend to support each other not because they are harsher leaders than men, but rather because they traditionally react to misogyny and gender inequality by distancing themselves from other women. This is the result of a destructive society! This is the state of the Arab culture!
In Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America, women have long played an important role in national independence movements. They fought alongside Algerian men against French colonialism, as well as were part of the Palestine Liberation Organization's fight against Israeli and oppressive Zionist policies aimed at starving Palestinians of their basic human right to liberty (El Saadawi, 2015).
To celebrate International Women's Day in 2016, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) Executive Secretary Rima Khalaf said, "We are celebrating the many achievements of Arab women in sciences, literature, and arts, but primarily in the art of survival." There is enough room and space for all to flourish. There should not be competition between women in a negative manner. It is the prevalent cultural ideas that women work by on a daily basis, it is innate. Women are vulnerable and prone to it on a daily basis, as it is inevitable. Women must cultivate a flexible approach and be willing to align their work with all those who fight for progress in order to win the long and painful fight for women's liberation and empowerment. There are good and righteous women who support other women’s advancement in life and at work. They should be looked upon as role models, as women strive to raise their girls to be like them!
All females are subjected to oppression, hence the exitstence of gender-based tensions and the necessity to address them. Women in Arab countries are underappreciated economic forces, with a relatively low percentage employed outside the household. Thus, females in the Arab world represent one of the lowest average female job rates. Arab women still have a long way to go in terms of political engagement and equality. Gender stereotypes can be used in a variety of settings, beginning with birth and the bundling of the child in the typical pink or blue blanket depending on gender. Gender stereotypes are misrepresented by placement and roles, and thus give a misleading image of gender roles.
El Saadawi, N. (2015). The Hidden Face of Eve. Zed Books London.
Liloia, A. (2020, February 12). Women in Arab Countries Find Themselves Torn Between Opportunity and Tradition. Retrieved from The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/women-in-arab-countries-find-themselves-torn-between-opportunity-and-tradition-130460
MOGHADAM, V. M. (2004). Patriarchy in Transition: Women and the Changing Family in the Middle East. University of Toronto Press, 137-162.