Throughout history, women have long endured centuries and centuries of discrimination and oppression. Male superiority and male dominance have long been in the roots of societies. Even as of today, in many countries, women still struggle with gender inequality. Women, especially in developing countries where democracy has yet to be put into action, are often victims of oppression and discrimination. Violence used against women are often overlooked and women are not legally represented as equals.
To take a step even further, many of their civil rights and liberties, such as freedom of expression, freedom of marriage, roperty rights, etc. are violated. Women inequality and oppression remains problematic in developing countries due to traditional values, legal discrimination, and lack of government protection of women. To address this issue there needs to be more women involvement in government and more promotion of organizations to support women’s right. Traditional Values In many developing countries such as Iran and Nigeria, traditional values and belief are deeply embedded in many aspects of their society. Traditionally, men are the dominant ones and women are more submissive and inferior to men.
In Iran, under its theocratic regime, women are expected to be submissive to the men. They have to be given permission to “leave the house, take up employment, or to engage in fasting or forms of worship other than what is obligatory. ” Because it is a theocratic state, religion is a key component in politics, therefore traditional values often clashes with women’s rights and freedom. Under one of Iran’s most alarming law, called Tamkin, which means obedience or submission, women are expected to be fully accessible to men.
Under this law, sexual availability is one of the duties of a wife. This states that a oman’s job as a wife is to please her husband, and fulfill the desires her husband wants. In many cases, women are forced into “temporary marriage” that typically result in prostitution. These temporary marriages serve as a justification for men to have sexual relations with women. Adding on, polygamy is encouraged for men, whereas for women they have to remain loyal to their husbands. In Iran, a man is entitled to have up to four wives, while a woman is allowed to have one husband.
This all links back to traditional values in the Iranian society where women are to remain loyal and submissive to her husband, hile her husband enjoys many of the freedoms women are not able to have. To add on, men are more favored than women. Women only receive half as much inheritance as their male relatives. Even if her husband dies, she would only receive % of the inheritance from her husband. Often in traditional values and beliefs, women often are housewives and stays home doing housework and taking care of the children.
Because women are often viewed as weaker and less superior, the jobs that have a high capacity of women often reflect this element. Majority of the urban-class women in Iran often works in fields engaging in ouse-based, informal or voluntary jobs. In a recent study at Middle East Institute, a census showed that there are less than 20% of female share in the labour force. Traditional view further hinders women’s equality due to the strong sense of patriarchy. According to Maryam Poya’s book Women, Work, and Islamism, Poya conducted a study on women and their work life in Iran. In her studies, she discovered that, . he states protects and regulates the family and male domination throughout society by exercising control over women. This is to ensure that the increase in the number of working women does not lead to reakdown of patriarchal control. ” In her research, Poya found out that women are finding more and more ways of entering the workforce.
However, she also discovered that, through interviews of Iranian working and middle class women that, “official statistics do not include categories of women workers who effectively contributes to their families’ and the national and international economy. This lack of inclusion of women statistics proves Poya’s argument that Iranians are still centered around a patriarchal system, and to maintain this, women are neglected. Besides Iran, traditional values also cause women nequality in Nigeria as well. Just like Iran, the context of women’s inequality and oppression is the result of traditional values and belief. More specifically the patriarchal structure. In Nigeria, it is believed that when a woman is married to a man, she has to surrender to him.
According to The Haven Refuge, a report made by Amnesty International, states that a woman is required to “provide sex and obedience” to her husband. In its patriarchal system, Nigerian women similarly to Iranian women, often face inheritance inequality. In Nigeria, females are denied of any inheritance because it is considered that a female is her usband’s belonging. Only in rare cases, do females get even a small share of inheritance, but even so, they receive less than their male siblings.
Based on traditional values, women in Nigeria suffer the same problem as women do in Iran, where they are the men’s property and source of sexual desire. Besides the patriarchal structure, women in Nigeria are expected to follow through with traditional customs of child bearing. Because of the traditional custom that it is a taboo for a doctor to open up a woman during a delivery of a child, young girls are taught how to deliver a child without proper medical ssistance. Without proper medical assistance, this can lead to infections and death of the child and the mother.
Nigeria has one of the world’s highest women mortality rate, where there is one woman dying every 10 minutes during a delivery of a child. This is around 545 deaths per 100,000 successful deliveries. This appalling statistic is a result of traditional values that causes consequences for women. Because the Nigerian society is so centered around traditional customs and values, many of the way Nigerians approach issues regarding women are often overlooked. Furthermore, since males are more favorable, just ike Iran, polygamy is encouraged.
Most parents in Nigeria prefer males over females, therefore men are encouraged to marry another wife to ensure that his family line continues. Often times, when a woman gives birth to a daughter, it is considered a calamity, and the husband must marry another woman in hopes of getting a son. Due to traditional values and customs in their culture, Iranian and Nigerian women still struggle to face oppression and injustices as their society views them as lesser beings. Legal Discrimination Legal discrimination in Iran and Nigeria is also a key factor in xacerbating women oppression and inequality.
In both Iran and Nigeria, unequal laws and rights are created to discriminate against women. In many cases, these laws and rights are the reasons why women are struggling so much to fight inequality. In Iran, there are certain rights that women have that are under the control of men. Rights such as divorce, work, transportation, custody, etc. In Iran, men can file for divorce and the process of the divorce is quick and simple. He is allowed to file a divorce with or without his wife’s consent. Although it was modified where both the husband and wife can file a divorce.
These odifications seem to do no help in a woman’s case. In the modifications, it states that both spouses can file divorce if, ” mistreatment by either parties; a husband’s failure to provide “maintenance” to the wife or his failure to satisfy other needs of the wife; the wife’s refusal to provide tamkin (sexual submission) to her husband, etc. ” These modifications seem to apply to men, since men have the economic advantage to work, it is not likely that they will fail to provide for the wife.
However, women are at a disadvantage because they need to provide sexual submission to their husband or he could file a divorce. Adding on in the legal system of Iran, if a woman want to work, she has to gain approval from her husband. This law is stated in Article 1117 of Civil Codes in Iran. Although it does not restrict the right for women to work, it does however give men the power over the women. Whereas a husband can stop his wife from working, a woman can not stop her husband from working.
Under Iranian Law, a husband can restrict his wife from leaving the country, and it is under the husband’s consent for a woman to get a passport. In Article 19 of the Passport Law of 1973, it states, husbands even have the ability to notify the government and orbid their wives from leaving the country. In such cases their wives’ passports will be seized. In fact, even if they give their consent at first, husbands are not bound to their previous consent and are free to change their minds at any time.
This exacerbates women’s inequality because she is not able to freely travel and move. Her freedom of transportation is deprived because she has no control over where she wants to go. Another big legal discrimination is through custody laws. Although custody is determined separately, men definitely have the upper hand. Under the custody law, women are allow to ake custody of their child up to a certain age, typically age 7, afterwards the custody is passed on to the husband. In addition, if a woman has gone insane or marries another man, the custody is automatically given to the man.
The divorce, transportation and custody laws in Iran adds on to the inequality of women as it legally discriminates women. In Nigerian, women experience legal discrimination too. Under Section 26 (2) (a) of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, it states that, citizenship is granted to a woman if she marries a Nigerian man, however, if she marries someone from a foreign country, he may not obtain citizenship. This example clearly shows discrimination against women because their citizenship is in the hands of her husband. For women in Nigeria, the criminal code also shows discrimination.
Under the Criminal Code, the punishment for a woman who commits a crime is worse than when a man commits a crime. In Section 353 of the Criminal Code it states, “Any person who unlawfully and indecently assaults any male person is guilty of a felony, and is liable to imprisonment for three years. The offender cannot be arrested without warrant. ” In contrast, in Section 360 it states, “Any erson who unlawfully and indecently assaults a woman or girl is guilty of a misdemeanor, and is liable to imprisonment for two years.
These sections of the Criminal Code precisely display the evidence of legal discrimination against women. Under the Nigerian Law, punishment is not equal. Women endure longer periods of punishment compared to men under the same type of crime. To go even further, under the Penal Code in Nigeria, it basically justifies domestic violence towards women. Under Section 182 of the Penal Code, it states, “sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife is not rape if she has attained puberty.
As long as the wife has gone through puberty, it is not considered rape. This contributes to domestic violence, since rape is overlooked, under the Penal Code. This code restricts women from speaking out against rape, since it is justified that as long as the woman is not a minor, it will not be documented as rape. Under certain circumstances, if a woman does end up speaking out about rape, in order for it to be taken into account, there has to be a proof of Zina, where there has to be 4 confessions made by 4 witnesses who saw the actual event.
Even so, the victim can be responsible for defamation if a confession is not obtained by the offender. This is another example of legal discrimination because it is very unlikely that a woman would find 4 witnesses that would back up her on her case. The Penal Code makes women unequal under the courts and law because it allows no protection of women when fighting their case against rape. Instead, a woman may be responsible for defamation as an offense. In Iran and Nigeria, under the legal code, women are discriminated, thus creating a bigger gap of inequality between the genders.