The topic of women’s rights is widely discussed today. Nearly every woman has her own views on it, with us, as Muslim women, being at especially hot crossroads. For me, as a convert Muslim, who has come to Islam, leaving behind the Western society, the implications are even more complex. So why is it that so many women nowadays choose to accept Islam, even though Western women supposedly have more freedom? What are the rights that women have achieved in the West and what exactly does Islam grant to Muslim women? Let us take a look at both the traditions in detail to understand the relation between them.
For the past two centuries, feminism – the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of equality of the sexes – has played a significant role in the Western world as an important social movement that has brought about transformations for the betterment of women. Today, feminism may mean many different things to different people, as the scope of what feminism stands for has extended far beyond its original meaning. In order to understand the origins and goals of this movement, let us take a brief look at the history of feminism.
Historical Background of Feminism Movement
Looking back into the Western Medieval Ages, we learn that women of the time did not have equal rights like they do today. They could not vote and were not able to make decisions about their marriage or having children. Generally, they were not able to work and were restricted mainly to domestic affairs. Medieval women did not have access to education, unless they chose to become nuns, who were given basic education in addition to their Christian devotion. They were not able to own property, and if they inherited land or property from their fathers, then they were forced to surrender it to their husbands at the time of marriage. As horrifying as it may sound, there were Christian clerics at the time, who were even discussing whether women had a soul…
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