• Shyam Arakere 10th Etiwanda High

Oppression against Women in the Middle East

Updated: Feb 26

The idea that women have the same rights as men should never be up for debate. In the United States of America, through decades of protest and determination, women have attained the same rights and privileges that men have. The heartbreaking reality however, is that in this world, equality is a privilege. In the Middle East, a consequential gender disparity exists in the most inhumane form ever seen through the guidance of religion.

In nations of the Middle East, women are oppressed unapologetically due to the “word of God.” Men use religion as a reason to abuse and commit cruel acts against innocent women and children. Wives are seen as passive and weak, thus, require a man’s presence at all times to protect them. In turn, women are expected to act in complete submission and compliance to a husband’s demands. This is the kind of extreme patriarchy which stems throughout the globe, and is a threat to equality and fairness for all genders. We cannot ignore that this sexism stems from cruel societal norms created by men. In a study conducted by the International men and gender equality surveys, it was found that 90% of men believed a man should have a final say in a decision, as well as over 50% of men believed that women sometimes need to be beaten to be put in their place. Although this study was conducted in Egypt, Egypt is believed to be one of the less oppressive nations.

In Saudi Arabia, a religious monarchy, sexism truly stems from the government. The constitution of Saudi Arabia does not allow for religious freedom for women. Only two years ago, women were granted the right to drive an automobile; however, most women don’t even attempt that because the male authority in their households often forbid it. Women are forced to wear Hijabs and be accompanied by men or face public consequences. This type of segregation against women exists all throughout the Middle East and some parts of the Mediterranean.


LifeReset recently held a forum with Sedighe Salehi, who is a former refugee and now translator. In this forum, we were able to hear the story of a woman who has first-hand experienced the discrimination against women in Iran and in Lesbos Island. Sedighe explained that women lived in constant fear of being punished, while men preyed on the innocence of young women and children. Sedighe explained to us that in that part of the world, the cruelty against women was seen as normal and even moral as they believed they had the consent from god to do whatever they please.


Any world where equality is a privilege is dystopian world. In the United States and many first world democracies, we live in a sense of societal privilege, where the problems that exist on the other side of the globe seem unimportant and unfixable. However, if we listen to the signs, and push for gender equality across the globe through donations to Humanitarian organizations like LifeReset, we can fight to end the grave humanitarian crisis of gender inequality and disparity that exists in third world and extremist nations.



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