Women In The Middle East Nov2005
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Women In The Middle East Nov2005

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Women In The Middle East Nov 2005 Common Threads and ...

Women In The Middle East Nov 2005 Common Threads and
Diversity of Experience

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  • 1. Women in the Middle East: Common Threads and Diversity of Experience
  • 2. Common Threads
    • Fewer women than men in public life
    • Fewer women than men in the public workforce
    • Higher rates of female illiteracy
    • Lower rates of female education
    • Patriarchal system in the home and in public life
  • 3. Female Illiteracy Female literacy in the MENA region has tripled since the 1970s, but half the women in the region still cannot read or write.
  • 4. Women’s Participation in the Formal Work Force & Politics
    • About 80 percent of men participate in the formal workforce; only about 33 percent of women (in the MENA region)
    • About 3.5 % of parliamentary seats are occupied by women (lowest % in the world)
  • 5. Patriarchy : a system that privileges males and elders, giving males legal and economic power over his family members.  In broader terms, the extension of male dominance over women in society in general. 
  • 6. Patriarchal system
    • Public:
      • Public office
      • Court testimony
      • Dress codes
      • Segregated work spaces
      • Limitations on movement
    • Private:
      • Last names
      • Child custody
      • Divorce/marriage laws
      • Freedom of movement & employment
  • 7. Variations in Experience A Bedouin girl Moroccan women demonstrating. Some Iranian women.
  • 8. Differences
    • National
      • Legal
      • Employment
        • In Turkey, one in three doctors & lawyers is a woman; about 40% of Istanbul Stock Exchange traders are women
      • Literacy
    • Regional
    • Class and status
    • Cultural
    Table 1: Percentage of women in the labor force Saudi Arabia 4% Egypt 30% Turkey 35%
  • 9. Source: Freedom House
  • 10. A Turkish mayoral candidate greets locals at a Diyarbakir market. Photo: NF Watts, 03/04
  • 11. Regional Diversity – a Turkish case Map of Turkey; inset map of Turkey’s southeastern provinces
  • 12. Regional diversity
    • Literacy:
      • 78 % literacy for women in Turkey overall (92 % men);
      • Southeast Turkey, only 55 % women literate.
    • Education:
      • 92% girls in elementary school in Turkey overall;
      • only 75% in the Southeast
    • Marriage:
      • in the Southeast, 20% girls marry before age 15 (highly uncommon in the rest of Turkey)
  • 13. Class differences: Jobs and status Former Prime Minister Tansu Ç iller Female employee at a carpet restoration center in Turkey. Market woman in central Turkey. My friend Selin making pottery.
  • 14. Diversity in Dress: “Veiling” and the headscarf
    • Veiling and exclusion from work NOT synonymous
    • Full-body covering not specifically required in the Quran
    • Historically, veiling primarily an upper-class luxury
    Village women in southeast Turkey.
  • 15. What do we mean by “veiling”?
  • 16. Types of head and body cover Hijab: Head scarf Chador: Full body cover Drawings from the Seattle Times
  • 17. Types of body covering cont. A burqa Hindu woman covering face with sari or other covering. Niqab, the face veil.
  • 18. Head and body fashion, images Palestinian woman in Gaza American Muslim woman showing difference between the Niqab (left) and the Hijab (right)
  • 19. Hijab Fashion Abbayas from Al-Iman Fashion Hijabs from Al-Iman Fashion Hijab & Abaya from alKaram fashion
  • 20.  
  • 21. Why do women veil? What does it mean for them?
  • 22. Other perspectives?
    • Covering as empowerment
    • Assertion of women’s rights
    • “ Post-modern” reaction
    • Local custom
    • Peer or family pressure
  • 23. Clothing and the Quran
    • "Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them; and Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands..."
    • (Qur'an 24:30-31)