Women In The Middle East

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Women in the Middle East are as diverse a group of individuals as will be found in any region of the world. However, they are often depicted in stereotypical, monolithic ways. What image comes to mind when you think of a woman in the Middle East? It is true that the majority of women in the region are Muslim and many wear hijab, or a headscarf, but this does not give us enough information about what they believe, their cultural practices, and the role they play in their home and community. Often the view of this one item of clothing molds opinions of both the women who wear it and the societies in which they live. Many Muslim women, however, have historically played significant roles in shaping and reshaping their society to include women as equals according to the religious
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It is within this paradigm that the context of “Islamic Feminisms” has existed for centuries, beginning in the time of the Prophet Muhammed, extending into the time of Imperialism, and continuing through to today. Each country and time period has its own iterations and it is important to consider historical context and cultural implications of each variation of feminism. Also, while the feminisms we see coming out of the Middle East may bear some similarities to the feminisms of Western culture, they bear distinct characteristics and origins that are unique to the specific social and political landscape of countries and sub-regions. This chapter will explore the history of women in Islam; the nuances of women’s movements in Egypt, Iran, and Turkey; and contemporary feminism in the Middle East in order to better understand the ways in which women of this region have played a role in
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