Women's Role Women Have Always Term Paper

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Islamic women are now restricted from most activities, and their rights have been steadily decreasing. Her social and political as well as economic rights are all being violated everyday by unscrupulous men who have corrupted the very religion to their own advantage, and today, especially in most Arab countries, woman has become 'Awarah', or the very subject of concealment, wherein her public presence is banned; where even her very voice, must not be heard in public. (Women's Position, Role, and Rights in Islam)

In India, there are only 960 women to 1000 men, a figure that when compared to the rest of the world, especially developed countries, which shows 105 women to 100 men, due to better health care for women, is quite miserable. It is in India that women are often considered to be burdens on their families, and the main reason for this is the 'dowry system', wherein the bride, at the time of marriage, is expected to bring a large amount of jewelry and other riches to her husband's house. On the other hand, a boy is considered to be a veritable gift from God, and the reason for this is that a boy would share in the financial burden of the family, and go out to work in the agricultural fields, or elsewhere, thus contributing to the family income. A girl is nothing but a burden, according to the economically backward classes, and more often than not, a woman is blamed and ostracized for having given birth to a girl child. (Gender Equality) recent report from the UN states that more than 50 million girls as well as women were in fact missing from the population of Hindus in India, and the reason for this was systematic discrimination against women, that often culminated in the forced abortion of female fetuses. When the woman attains adulthood, and her father is not able to fulfill his promise of dowry, then she will be, most often than not, be burnt, and this custom is prevalent even today in many rural areas, and more than 5,000 women are burnt every year in a most gruesome manner just because they were not able to bring enough dowry to their bridal homes. If the wife was found to be unfaithful, then the husband was allowed to punish her as he saw fit. This punishment would sometimes be as simple as a curse; it would sometimes be a cutting off of her ears or her nose or even her genitalia. The definition of adultery was, amazingly, a simple conversation with another man who was not related to the woman in any way, or the mere touch of a sleeve of a strange man. (Women in Hinduism)

It is sometimes said that the ancient Hindu Scriptures and the Vedas are actually nothing but a form of 'barbarism'. All the atrocious practices that were prevalent in the ancient times, in acts committed against women, have been outlined in great detail among these scriptures. It is within these pages that the ritualistic Sati, Child Marriage, the Dowry System, the female infanticide, and the human sacrifices are all explained clearly, and it was according to the instructions given within these pages that the men of yesteryears acted. A woman was mistreated and mercilessly tortured, for no reason other than that she had been born a woman. Men had scant respect for women, and though there are instances in history where a woman has braved the odds and succeeded in whatever her endeavors were, these examples are few and far between. Today, the rise and the success of Hindu women in their chosen fields, in India, have been against the tremendous odds against the female race in general. It is sometimes said that the rise of Hindu Fundamentalism under certain extremist organizations, like for example, the BJP, the RSS, the Bajrang Dal, and the Sangh Parivar has had the effect of further degrading the status of Hindu women in India, and it is said that these fundamentalist outfits are actually attempting to revive the ancient repulsive practices of Sati and female infanticide and the Dowry system. This would only bring women to a virtual standstill, and they would be more oppressed were these organizations to succeed in their attempts and efforts to bring back ancient Hindu practices to modern India. (Hindu Scriptural Sanction for the Crushing of Women)

The truth is that both Buddhism and Jainism were protest movements against the various unfair practices of Hinduism, especially in relation to women. However, the advent of these two religions had little or no impact on the status of women in India, and the reason for this may be that more emphasis was laid on the factor of asceticism, wherein women were expected to be severely ascetic in all their beliefs and practices. This was similar to the beliefs of the early Christian ascetics, and the teachings found in the old Essenes, and the Franciscans. Therefore, though Buddhism and Jainism opposed most of the horrible practices found in Hinduism, like for example, Sati, where a wife was actually burnt to death at the funeral pyre of her dead husband, women were still considered to be a real burden, and also a hindrance to real progress. The path to liberation was curtailed and prevented, by women, according to the belief of the Buddhist and Jain leaders. Thus, they too did not treat women as more then a burden and a hindrance, and though unfair practices were frowned upon, there were no fair practices either, within the religions, as far as women were concerned. (Hindu Scriptural Sanction for the Crushing of Women)

In ancient African traditional religions, the woman is treated as a person who has been responsible for bringing misfortunes on human kind, but, however, she is not blamed exclusively; the man also takes some of the share of the blame. In fact, she is seen as sharing in the cause and the effect of the misfortunes that have befallen the world in which she lives, and also to the misery and to the death that is present in the world, just like, in fact, the men and the children that she is surrounded with. Sometimes, one gets the feeling that the ancient African woman was in fact treated as someone extremely special, and as someone whom the God who had created her had placed in a very special position. African proverbs too demonstrate a similar view, and the woman in these proverbs is often seen as being extremely valuable in society, and in fact, even more valuable than the oxen that were used in ancient times to plough the fields. This is a real indicator of the value and esteem in which the African woman was held in ancient Africa. (the Role of women in African traditional religion)

The Mother or the Wife is seen as being the very center of the family unit, and she is the very pivot on which the family functions. Any type of weakness that the woman may possess or demonstrate is accepted tolerated and even mentioned in all the ancient stories. One example is that a woman has the right to feel jealous, and this is especially true when she is forced to live in a polygamous society where her husband has more then one wife, and all the women are expected to live together in one whole family. African women are also included in the religious activities of the society in which they lived, and this is seen in the fact that they were often described as offering prayers not just for their own families, but also to the entire society. Women were also allowed, and are still allowed, to become priests, and this is yet to catch up in other religions elsewhere in the world, and she is also allowed to practice being a medium, or a traditional healer. (the Role of women in African traditional religion)

In Africa, woman play an active role in all aspects of life, and though this is not seen in any other religion anywhere in the world, it may be a good idea to emulate it and inculcate it into other religions too, so that the woman may be able to lead a full and independent and happy life, just like man.

References

Agarwal, Sita. Hindu Scriptural Sanction for the Crushing of Women. Retrieved at http://www.dalitstan.org/books/gowh/gowh6.html. Accessed on 16 March, 2005

Gender Equality. 2004. Retrieved at http://www.faithnet.org.uk/Ethics/genderequality.htm. Accessed on 16 March, 2005

John, MacArthur Jr., Women's Roles. 20 March, 2003. Retrieved at http://www.believersweb.org/view.cfm?ID=205Accessed on 15 March, 2005

Mbiti, John. The Role of women in African traditional religion. Retrieved at http://www.afrikaworld.net/afrel/atr-women.htm. Accessed on 16 March, 2005

Shamley, Zieba Shorish. Women's Position, Role, and Rights in Islam. Retrieved at http://www.afghan-web.com/woman/womenrights.html. Accessed on 15 March, 2005

Should Christians support Women's Liberation Movements? Retrieved at http://www.christiananswers.net/q-eden/edn-f003.html. Accessed on 15 March, 2005

Women in…[continue]

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