Taking a Look at the Unequal Treatment of Women in Developing Countries in the Middle East and in the North African Region

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Women’s rights has been an intense topic of debate for centuries in many different cultures around the world. While many first world countries have made great strides of improvement in the area, like America’s 19th amendment allowing women to vote in 1920, or England’s National Union of Women’s Suffrage Society formed in 1897, developing countries in the Middle East and North African region continue to struggle with the issue. Not only do women in MENA regions have to contend with extreme social prejudices and constant harassment, they also are treated as second class citizens in the eyes of the law. Life in countries like Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, and Pakistan are heavily centered around Islamic principles and the Shari’a Law, a law which…show more content…
In these countries men pay a dowry to their wife's families, so many poverty stricken families marry their daughters off immediately once they reach puberty to the highest bidder. Religious teachings and principles also pay a huge role in denying young women education. Often the majority of these countries are made up of rural communities where there may only be one school house for all grades in the entire village. Many parents will not allow their daughter to attend the school if the teacher is a male, though sons are allowed to attend regardless of the sex of the teacher. Most poor, rural schools also do not have separate bathrooms and sanitation facilities for girls to use, so after puberty the majority of female students are forced to drop out. A reporter from UNICEF’s story on gender education and equality in Southern Sudan demonstrates this perfectly, “At the primary school here, there are 320 girls in grade 1 but just seven in grade 8. One girl uses a crutch to walk, and I ask a fieldworker about the challenges facing disabled children. He points out that if the girl hadn’t been disabled, most likely from polio, she would probably be married already and would never have had the chance to go to school” (UNICEF). Another tool used against women is fear. Muslim extremist groups like the Taliban are adamantly opposed to

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