Are women in Islamic countries oppressed by men?Are women in Islamic countries oppressed by men? Should The West try to encourage them to be more independent or should we respect Islamic women as...

Are women in Islamic countries oppressed by men?

Are women in Islamic countries oppressed by men? Should The West try to encourage them to be more independent or should we respect Islamic women as part of a different culture?

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In large part, I think we need to respect these women and men as part of a different culture.  I would certainly feel opressed if I enter the country, but they might not.  They might feel just as strange here in my country.  If the women of a particular area want to change their culture, then it would not be wrong to offer appropriate assistance.  I think it is wrong to step in and tell another culture that they are wrong because they are not like us.  We must accept that there are different societies in the world.  Just because they are different does not necessarily mean they are wrong nor does it give us the right to try to change them.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is so hard to say.  Of course they appear to be oppressed from our point of view.  But is that objective?  Let's look at it another way.  Are Catholic women oppressed because they cannot be priests and because the Church says that contraception is immoral?  Many Catholic women would say they are not.  So how do we determine whether Muslim women are truly oppressed (as opposed to just being oppressed relative to Western opinions)?

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
When we western folks say that women in Islamic countries are oppressed by men, we are projecting our values onto a different culture. From a relativist standpoint, you can't judge one culture by another culture's standards. However, there are a certain amount of standard rights that we all consider human. Humans have the inalienable right to life, and that is severely questionable in some Islamic countries' treatment of women.
rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This is a very thorny question. Gender and gender roles are culturally specific, which makes passing judgement on different cultures problematic. Another issue is that there are more than 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and that within this massive population there are many other cultures. So making a generalization is basically intellectually irresponsible, even allowing for the cultural construction of gender roles. 

renoa | Student

do you like it when you see pregnant teenagers ?

do you like it when you hear about girls been raped ?


I am not saying its something wouldn't happen to any girl , but when they are showing loooots of flesh that would make them in high risk of Sexual harassment rape or even murder .


:) have a good day


Sexual Harassment

renoa | Student

In Islam the responsibility is moral for both men & women. While men are asked not to abuse women in any way , women on the other hand are asked to cover their beauty. Women are only allowed to uncover their veil and wear the personal dress without veil only in the presence of their parents, brothers, husband ,but other men are not allowed to see women in the personal dress, they can only see them in the perfect Islamic dress. Because women's body is not commodity or something of a low degree. It is kept away from the eyes of intruders who have no right to see any woman except their wives. It's not a waste for money.

Because I can buy address for a wedding party in which most of my body appeared ,but I should not allowed any foreign men to see me except my husband. Islam doesn't prevent me  to wear fashionable dresses, but Islam organize how and where to wear them. I can wear any thing in front of women  in the party and because of that Islam prevented Muslims to have parties were men & women are sitting in the same place. The ladies are celebrating with the bride, and men are celebrating with the bridegroom . At the end of the party the groom takes his bride and leave to the hotel or to their home. So, there is no waste of time or money. We can enjoy our time with a great freedom when we are alone, away from men .

renoa | Student

Why do women cover's their bodies from head to toe, while they already wearing good clothes under their-Abayas-,and why they hide their beauty that God gave them? It's wasting for time & money!!


this was a question asked by my close friend . do you want to know my answer?

In Islam, woman's dignity is asserted and one way to obtain it is to protect her from any harm. One way to ensure that the dignity of women is partly done by the woman her self. Women are asked to wear respectful dresses that covers her beauty. The form of the dress is varied in some countries, they wear ((Abaya))as" long cloak" ,in other Islamic countries they wear jacket, shirts and long-maxi-skirts. The style it self is not important, what matters is that it should cover the whole body. In Saudi Arabia " the whole body " but in other Islamic countries they cover the whole body " except the face & hands " The reason why women have to cover their beauty is that not to arise the desires of men and then blaming them if they violate the moral rules.


renoa | Student

As a Muslim and Arabic woman =) and i live in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia I would say that we are FREE and we are comfortable with our law here . some girls are not because of their families as you people in UK or US some of your families are open minded people  others are not right?  can you go to those people unknowing them just to ask them not to treat THEIR own kids the way they are seeing it Perfect? while you see it differently because you didn't even born in thier society ?

why should you worry about us anyway?


west should mind their own business and just leave us alone  lol  just saying

najm1947 | Student

Good question Frizzy! "Why does the caged bird sing?"

Please read again what did I say:

God does not require any one to be to believe in Him, their is no compulsion to become His servant. The Muslims do so by their own sweet will and surrender some of their liberties to Him.

Yes! The Muslims surrender to God - The others who call themselves Muslims and are disobedient to God may be suffering. It's nothing unusual. Don't you see people jailed for acting against the constitution and law. Why don't you call them 'caged birds' and sympathise with them. Look at Guantanamo Bay prison. Most of the inmates have been captured from other countries and they have never taken oath to be faithful to US. Muslim women have taken oath to be faithful to God and their suffering hurts you, and NOT the suffering of Muslims in Guantanamo Bay prison who have not taken oath to be faithful to US, and are treated in a inhuman manner.

Isn't it hypocrisy! Please have a heart.

najm1947 | Student

In reply to 17:

I think it is fairly obvious that women in Islamic countries are oppressed. - Frizzyperm

But if majority of the women in Islamic countries say otherwise, with the few exception that prove the rule, they are NOT oppressed. One must realise the cultural differences of the non-believers and the believers in general and Muslims in particular. The non-believers rely on their own wisdom and knowledge using about 10% of the brain for thinking which itself weighs around 3 pounds. Whereas the believers subject themselves to the wisdom and knowledge of the All-wise, All-Knowing - God. So there is a difference and it speaks and shows. Non-believers are the servants of their human knowledge or science which is the half-truth. Believers and especially true Muslims are the servants of their Master whom they believe to be their Creator. Muslims know that He has the right to judge for them what is good for them. It is not only a cultural difference, its a matter of belief as well.

However, God does not require any one to be to believe in Him, their is no compulsion to become His servant. The Muslims do so by their own sweet will and surrender some of their liberties to Him. In this case why anyone should bother if they behave like that? It is their personal matter.

So I would ask where is the oppression?

frizzyperm | Student

Somehow this discussion has simplified to merely the rights and wrongs of the burqa.

I think it is fairly obvious that women in Islamic countries are oppressed. If a communist country oppressed women to the same degree, then Americans would have no trouble identifying it as oppression. But when it is done in the name of religion then we tip-toe around it and say it is 'ancient cultural traditions'.

The west used to have 'ancient cultural traditions' too. Historically, western women were denied many of the rights and privileges that were granted to men. And men made many noble speeches about how wonderfully these delicate, sensitive creatures were cherished and admired. Women weren't suited to 'education' or 'responsibility'. etc etc We only need to look at the Catholic church to see our own 'ancient cultural respect' towards women.

Islam's treatment of women is the same as Christendom's treatment of women prior to the 20th century. It is not 'culturally different' to western values it is 'culturally similar' to western values from a few centuries ago. It is the oppression of women by men in a pre-modern social structure.

While different Muslim countries have differing degrees of restriction, broadly speaking muslim women are... segregated; have restricted travel rights; restricted legal rights; restricted access to education; restricted access to work; restricted marriage and sexual rights etc, etc.

How is this not oppression?

najm1947 | Student

Here is an Amazing Response on Hijab by a Nobel Laureate from Yemen, Tawakul Karman.

Yemeni Nobel Peace Prize Winner in 2011 Tawakkul Karman* when asked about her Hijab By Journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, she replied.

"Man in The early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient TIMES."

just-s | Student

Thanks Najm, i thought as much i was right because i have been to pakistaan and not everyone wears the hijaab. i have also been to Makah and Madeenah and hijaaab is not a compulsion there either. people wear them out of their own personal will and interest!

najm1947 | Student

Living in Pakistan, I can say that there is no compulsion for Hijaab or Burka in Pakistan. My family does not use Burka and has started wearing Hijaab by their own choice only a year back. I say it once again. There is no compulsion in Pakistan.

wanderista | Student

In response to Post 7 -

On the Australian Safe travellers website, it is highly recommended to go into Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc. with a burka suite (hijaab) on, or atleast a face disguise. Otherwise, you are at risk of very high fines, or the death penalty.

I am not saying that the burka suite should be abolished; there are some who wish to wear it for whatever religious reasons they have. But forcing people to wear something that hides their individuality and identity in my opinion can be concerning.

Are Islam women in Afghanistan/Pakistan/Saudi Arabia etc. given the option to wear the burka suite or the hijaab? If so, then I recind my arguments.

just-s | Student

NO I don’t think encouraging us to be independent will help because no-matter what, we as Muslim women will still wear the hijaab!

 "...I also believe the wearing of the burka suite is unfair and unjust, regardless of Islam beliefs."-ravendaily8

Well all I can say is that according to me the hijaab is extremely fair and just. As a woman I can’t think of any other greater gift than to have the hijaab.

wanderista | Student

I believe they are, but we need to define 'oppressed', and what one believes oppression is.Ibelieve Islamic women do not get the same opportunities and leniency as men do, and are therefore oppressed. Did you know, if a man rapes a woman, it is the woman's fault for tempting him? I also believe the wearing of the burka suite is unfair and unjust, regardless of Islam beliefs.

renoa | Student

LOL I  didn't linked that website


please any available admin delete it

loraaa | Student


You are wrong Mr.frizzy If you do not visit Arab or Islamic countries, it is better for u does not speak about this is...!!
  I have a lot of friends, Arabs and Muslims, I do not see a problem in the burqa or the hijab.
  My friends are acting freely in Lebanon and Egypt ^_^

  And you are an old man,,, (o_O) you should speak wisely, "in the all subjects that had nothing to do with you."

  Good life in the remainder of your age.. ^_*

frizzyperm | Student

If the majority of the women in Islamic countries say otherwise, with the few exception that prove the rule, they are NOT oppressed. - Najm

Why does the caged bird sing, Najm?

just-s | Student

well said!!........hope everyone can see it form that way!!...

just-s | Student

aggh man i mean *corrected* sorry :-(

just-s | Student


just-s | Student

from what i know of it is not compulsory to wear it because i have been to these places an were not told anything because wasnt wearing the hijaab at that time!

but maybe it has changed now!! i stand to correction here!

wanderista | Student


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