In recent media discussions, the Islamic religion is frequently mentioned. Especially the role of the woman in this community is striking and contended. The situation of Muslim women depends on the complex of religion, mostly its religious texts, and the culture or rather history, which is shaped around that texts.
Rights and obligations are crucial aspects, which condition their lives in every way. Their position in society is determined by extensive cultural constructions, which imply civil rights, education, work, dress code and life within the marriage.
It is a myth that Islamic woman have no rights at all. And it is also a false statement that they are not worth to gain education or knowledge. In the modern Muslim world, also woman are allowed to get educated. They even get scholarships for extraordinary activities or may become teachers or business women. There is just one instruction they have to follow: The education has to be restricted to their religion. But this doesn’t only proves true for women, this includes all Muslims, men included. Therefore, it is old-fashioned to think that Muslim woman are not allowed to get any education.
Due to their good education, Islamic females have the chance to find jobs in every sector, for example, in the third sector as nurses or doctors. In the textile industry they even hold a monopoly. As a consequence, they have their own financial resources, if they don’t have to deliver their wages to their dominant husband. In employing women, there’s still one thing lacking: special female property rights. This is one thing which definitely has to be improved in the future.
But on the other hand, there is still the shady side of that religious community. Muslim women still have to be liable to historical obligations, which were constructed by men in former times.
A certain behavior and attitude is expected within marriage. For instance, sexuality is a big part of it, although love is often a longsome process of learning. In many cases, especially in former times, girls were agreed by her father to marry strange men, they never ever met in their life until the day of their wedding.
Within the marriage then, it is expected, that the man is good to his wife (i.e. earning money to feed the family) and the woman is good to her husband (doing the household, raising children, having sex with husband). These are standards demonstrated in the Muslim Koran, the “Bible“ of the Islamic world.
Another often disputed obligation female Muslims have to follow is the dress code. Within the Koran it says that women have to lower their gaze and cover their private parts of the body. This also includes the veil, which is probably the most common aspect which comes to mind when talking about disguising Muslim women. Especially in European countries, this is one fact which cannot be accepted. That’s why many Muslims have great problems to get integrated into the Western society.
As the example of the Muslim world shows, gender behavior and culture are huge factors which determine a woman’s life. Although their status in society has visibly improved, there are still great gaps to advance their position considering emancipation and patriarchy.