Women of the Middle East

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The Women of the Middle East have played substantial roles for their corresponding countries since the advent of colonialism in the region. Middle Eastern women have worked in all types of fields including medicine, education, agriculture, government, private sector, and even defense. They have kept roofs over their family’s heads while their husbands were away in wars, or even in foreign countries to work in jobs that they could not find in their own countries. The roles of women in the countries of Yemen and Oman are no exception, but while they still find ways to contribute to their country, they care constantly stereotyped, discriminated, and ridiculed by men who are known and unknown to them. This paper will discuss the individual contributions of the women living in Yemen and Oman, and will discuss in further state laws and cultural norms that are affecting the women living in these countries today.

Women’s rights in Yemen have not changed since (or before) the unification of North and South Yemen in 1990. Since the unification, new laws and a constitution (that are still placed on Islamic Shari ‘a law) that are in place unfortunately hold these statements to be true. According to Amal Basha some of Yemen’s laws that stereotype, discriminate, and demeanor women include: the value of the life of a woman, or girl is equal to half that of a man or boy and if a man performs a “honor kill” the maximum punishment he can face in prison is one year, compared to women who face death if they dishonor their husbands, women cannot leave the country without permission from a male relative, if women are imprisoned and do their punishment, they are not allowed to leave prison unless a male relative approves of it, there are no lega...

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...ese deeds may be, the women of these two great nations will always be treated like second class citizens. Progress has been made to change this mindset, but change is slow in the Middle East, and when it comes to changing women’s rights, this will always be the slowest of changes to occur.

Works Cited

Basha, Amal. Freedom House, Women's Rights in the Middle East and North Africa - Yemen, 14 October 2005. http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/ docid/47387b712f.html (accessed August 14, 2010)

Deeb, Mary-Jane. Freedom House. Women’s Rights in the Middle East and North Africa-Oman, 2010. http://www.freedomhouse.org/template.cfm?page=179 (accessed August 14, 2010)

Embassy of Yemen-Human Rights and Women’s Issues. Congressional, Democracy, Human Rights & Gender Office. Embassy of Yemen. http://www.yemenembassy.org/issues/democracy/index. php (accessed August 14, 2010)
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