Middle Eastern Women Breaking Through Social Boundaries

Hunter Holstein

Today in our modern society within America, it’s difficult for newer generations to picture a place where women aren’t given complete equal rights as men and are held back from ever being able to have a say in their own career path or important choices in life. Unfortunately, places like this still currently exist in the world. There’s a place where women can find themselves in poverty if their husbands, fathers, or any male figure in their lives ever left them, a place where women can’t drive cars, choose who they marry, have certain careers, travel, compete freely in sports, and so many other things that we would never question if a women was allowed to do or not to do. This place is the Middle East.

The legal status for women throughout the Middle East has been changing and altering since the beginning of the twentieth century, with laws regarding what women can and can’t do altering under the control of different individuals with political power and a conservative religion. Recently, women from all different places in the Middle East are starting to use their voices and power as a whole to fight back against these restrictions.  

Women in the Middle East for the past decade have been closing gender gaps and non-violently demanding their rights. Their rights to do what they please, marry who they please, go where they please, wear what they please, etc. As this “revolution” takes place, courageous women are starting to set their place in the workforce, possessing the majority of college graduates, posting YouTube videos of them driving, having less children than what their surrounding society expects them to, protesting in large groups in streets, creating various social organizations, demanding to have a say in politics, using the Islamic religion to justify their rightful equality, and so much more.

Women like Tawwakoi Karman and Malala Yousafzai (both winners of Nobel Peace Prizes) have chosen to risk being put into jail and even killed to fight for what they know is humane and just. Malala, at just the young age of 15, was shot in the neck by the Taliban when she chose to board a bus to protest for girls education. She amazingly survived and chose to continue her fight for equality. If that isn’t bravery at its finest, it’s hard to say what is. Fearless women like Tawwakoi and Malala are constantly fighting for change, even though it is far from simple or easy.

When considering how long it took women to have equal rights in other places throughout the world, it is understandable that this change will have to take time to reach complete equality around the world. Inevitably, it is happening, even with so many men and various political figures fighting against the voice that is demanding to be heard. Slowly but surely throughout the Middle East, women are finally starting to be given what they have been asking for for years.

This somewhat quiet, yet extremely important and history-making revolution for women in the Middle East shows that even in the most conservative, judgmental, violent areas, the fight for equality is possible, it is there, and it is too powerful to be stopped even by the most seemingly strong forces.