This paper seeks to assess the overall character of women’s rights in the Middle East in the course of development. It also seeks to demonstrate how the traditional roles and other aspects have affected the women in the contemporary era.

Overall Character of women’s right in the Middle East

It is believed that the women’s liberation did not begin in the recent years, but that it began in the 17th century. Islamic women’s rights were governed by original message in the Muslim’s holy book. However, this message has been distorted over the recent years by the different cultures and  traditions in the Muslim or Islamic community. This is why the modern world views the Muslim women as the most unvalued women in their communities with no rights at all (Moghissi 130). However, other critics have suggested that the Islamic or Muslim religion is highly misunderstood by many people. They attribute this to the fact that the society believes that the Muslim women are disrespected, belittled, weak, and oppressed by the male counter parts. The analysts claim that this is not entirely true. They insist that the Muslim women have their own rights and are respected.

According the analysts, the holy book of the Muslims clearly states that both women and men are equal in the eyes of God. In addition, they insist that if the society at large would take time to understand the Muslim religion, they would realize that women are given the first priority as wives, mothers, and as special beings in the eyes of God. However, it is very clear in the modern world that these women do not enjoy the same rights as other modern women (Sullivan 131)

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In the view of women rights, the United Nations women’s treaty was rationalized. This is a successful step in the empowering women on many issues that still exist. These issues range from traditional and cultural to economic and political. The best examples are the instances when women work more than men, and yet they are paid less as compared to men. Thus, women and girls end up suffering and being exposed to immense poverty and other inhumane conditions. The development of the society and child survival depends largely on gender equality, thus this should not be belittled.

Factors that Determine Changing Roles of Women in the Middle East

Developed countries such as the United States believe that the Muslim women are oppressed by their religion. This is because they are forced to cover themselves up. However, over the years it has been discovered that these oppressive practices do not only come from the Muslim religion but also from the local cultures and traditions of the women in the Middle East. An example of a human right that is given to these women and not Christian women is that the Muslim women retain their assets even after marriage. On the other hand, the assets of Christian women are passed on to the husband after marriage (Joseph 170).

The interpretation of gender roles from the Quran clearly shows that gender roles vary in different cultures. For example, in the 10th century the Islamic laws had restrictive laws on women, but later the elite women were able to bend these laws and mixed freely with men. This simply means that the Islamic laws are only followed depending on the local customs in the region (Moghadam 2).


In the contemporary era and the recent times, Islamic women have risen up to become political and religious leaders and have important roles of wealth and class in the Middle East and all over the world. This has brought about big change in the women’s rights in the Middle East.

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