Term Paper: Women's Role

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Women's Role

Women have always been treated as being lesser than men, in any field, anywhere at all in the world. Within different religions, too, there is a lot of differentiation and discrimination between the various roles played by men as against the roles played by women. Take the example of Christianity, for one. According to Macarthur Junior, John, in an article written by him in March 2003, the feminist movement in America has had the result of assaulting and changing the traditional roles that women have been assuming for centuries and what has happened is that women are now in the middle of a Revolution of sorts. In yesteryears, women were extremely content to be a good wife, and a good mother, and their only source of joy and delight were their husbands and their children. (Women's Roles)

However, today, women are definitely more interested in getting their joy out of working out of the home, and enjoying the high pay that they earn from their jobs. The traditional sexual morality and the norms that were generally expected of women are now being ignored, and in its place there is the new role of women wherein they behave more as aggressors than of peacemakers. They have, in short, become more dominating, and the result is that they are today 'promiscuous', and the meek and docile women of yesterday have today become hostile, self-aggressive, and demanding of their rights. All this also has the inevitable result of the rise of divorces and separations, with women more often initiating the proceedings, rather than the man, as was traditionally done, and only for the direst of reasons. Now, divorce is initiated at the mere drop of a hat. (Women's Roles)

The very issue of Women's Liberation has caused a whole lot of confusion and irritation in the minds of the Christians of today, wherein the traditional roles that were being played by women are now being discarded in favor of more equality and more independence. The fact is that women in Christianity in the pagan times were never treated as being better than a mere chattel, and it was only in later years that women found a voice for themselves. In fact, the Bible praises and even exhorts those women in the religion who actually managed to find fulfillment in playing out their roles. Some examples of this are: Hannah, I Samuel 1-2 played out her role within the family with great success and was commended for it, Miriam, played her role as a Prophetess according to Exodus 15:20 and Deborah became famous and great by becoming a Judge, as well as a poet, in Judges 5. In Christianity, what is even more surprising is the fact that the religion states that it does not believe in the distinction s and the differentiations between the two sexes, as far as salvation and one's position before God are concerned. Galatians 3:28 states this very clearly: "there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Should Christians support Women's Liberation Movements?)

Women also played a prominent and important role in early Church, and the Bible prescribes certain norms for the Christian home and family, and the men and women who profess the religion are expected to follow these norms, and this is one of the most important norms: within the Christian home, the man is the head of the woman, and woman was in fact created for the man, and not vice versa. Women are expected to be subservient to their husbands, as they would be to the Lord, and men are also expected to love their wives as they would love the Church and the Lord. Therefore, though the wife is not at all lesser important than the man according to the Church, but at the same time, she is expected to follow her husband's advice and not voice her own opinions, as the man is the head of the woman, and therefore, she will always be inferior to man. (Should Christians support Women's Liberation Movements?)

In Islam, the role and the position of women in theory, that is, according to the Quran and the Haddiths, or the sayings of the Prophets, is inordinately different form the traditional roles played by women in real life, according to Zeiba Shorish-Shamley. The author states that it is not the numerous Islamic ideologies that are responsible for the determination of the position of women, but the Pre-Islamic patriarchic ideologies that were found in a few select Islamic societies, that were responsible for the present role played by women in Islamic society. Compounded by a basic lack of education as well as a lack of understanding of the power of women, the role of women is a rather dismal one. In theory that is according to the Holy Quran both men and women have equal roles of importance in Islamic society, especially in the idea of the creation of Human Beings. (Women's Position, Role, and Rights in Islam)

According to the Quran, Sura 4, Verse 1, the Lord created, with like nature, a Mate, from which he created countless other men as well as women. This shows that men and women were supposedly created by Allah form the same source, and as equals. Therefore, men and women are to be considered as equals, and women are also to be granted a status that is similar in stature to the spiritual status that is accorded to some men. Were women to be forgiving, and tolerant, and humble, and devoted and patient and constant, and virtuous, then Allah would grant them forgiveness and also offer them great rewards in the future. In addition, in Islam, both men and women are equal in their various obligations to Allah, and nowhere are women treated as less responsible.

In Islam as far as women's role in education is concerned both men and women are expected to obtain and acquire knowledge and education, and this is actually a duty that they are expected to perform. Men are also exhorted to see to it that they teach their daughters the basics of education, at the very least; in fact, it is when a father educates his girl child that he would be allowed to enter Paradise when the time comes. One example of a well-educated and knowledgeable woman in Islam is that of Ayisha, the wife of the Prophet, who was known for her phenomenal memory and knowledge. In fact, it is often said that the Prophet would advise his people to go to his wife for advice. In the Islamic society of yesteryears, known as the Pre-Islamic Era, women were even denied the basic rights to existence. For example, when a girl child was born, especially in certain Arab countries, the practice of female infanticide would be carried out, wherein the newborn baby girl would be put to death. With the advent of Islam, however, the first and foremost improvement that was brought in for the women of the religion was to grant them the basic right to life, and those people who would reject their female child would be considered to be murderers and criminals. This put a stop to this inhumane practice, and women were at the very least allowed to live their lives. (Women's Position, Role, and Rights in Islam)

In marriage, women and men are granted equality, for the Quran states that the joining of a man and a woman is like the sharing of two halves of society. A woman cannot be forced into marrying a person that she does not like, and vice versa. The basic objectives of marriage, as outlined by the Quran, are those of love, mercy, justice, sharing, and a spiritual harmony. The role that the woman is expected to play within the family is also given great importance in the Quran, and the main reason for this is because of the fact that women are seen as the bringers up of the next generation of individuals, and unless they are brought up properly, there would not be a good future for them. The rule that allows men to marry more than two or even three times and maintain all of these women as one single family was initially meant for the purpose of saving orphaned and abandoned women, and this was a rule that many women profited by, because they found a shelter as well as a provider or themselves and for their children. However, this rule was later corrupted, and men saw fit to marry as many women as they chose, without restrictions.

However, the rule that the man must treat all his wives equally is followed to some extent, and this makes it a great advantage to those destitute women who have been taken in by strange men. Therefore, it can be stated that there is a provision for equality for men and women in Islam, but due to corrupt practices, this was not followed appropriately,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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