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Role of Women in Arabic Society



The debate over the role of women in Arab society has been going on for a long time. There is a continued sway of restrictions, which attempt to mobilize traditions to resolve the problems of Arab society by excluding women and isolating them at home. The Arabian traditions perceive women as inferior to men, and their roles are closely tied to motherhood. Emphatically, it is only through a man that a woman may reach a haven of security. Women are treated as ones who cannot do without a man. However, there is an emerging younger generation where women are waking up to the current dynamics of social transformation. They are working towards achieving possible effects on the restructuring the society to the integration of women on an equal basis with men in all areas of employment. Women reformers concentrate on changing all the aspects of social, political, and economic structures.

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In the past 15- 20 years, the new education has created the possibility of raising girls to enable them to assimilate the values of age in contemporary Arab society. Women have taken an active role to embrace change and taking positions in public affairs. They are in a struggle that encompasses all areas of activity within the society, without exception (Keddie 151). Women are undertaking social transformation through the Arab women’s movement. The social movements are social intermediaries to realize the social objectives. In addition, the movement has provided the means to access methods of expanding and enhancing public awareness of issues that affect women. It is also a platform for women to communicate with their global counterparts (Keddie 153). The globalization of networks has created room to attack the discourses that favor conservative ideas. Over the years of the past two decades, women are now participating in productive work.

Women are using different forms of media to initiate and promote public dialogue on the traditions centered towards treating women with submissiveness. These are efforts to enable the female gender to attain positions that traditions have denied for a long time (Keddie 153). In addition, the use of media has helped to promote gender awareness aiming at achieving social equality. Apparently, these changes are appearing to alter the traditional perceptions and conservative views about the role of women in Arab society.

The beginning of women’s education in schools and universities was a basic step towards the liberation of Arabian women. One of the prominent women who were in the frontline was Samman Ghada. Born in Al-Shamiya, Syria, she became a Syrian novelist and short story writer (Talhami 289). She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the American University of Beirut in 1964. In 1966, she earned an MA in the literature of theater of the absurd from London University. After returning to Beirut in 1969, she becomes a correspondent for the Lebanese magazine al-Hawadeth. She began to publish fictional works and investigative reporting in the late 1960s. Most of her novels and short stories express a strong Arab nationalist sentiment and criticize Zionism (Talhami 289). For example, the “Beirut ’75” novel exposes class divisions and gender conflict. Her works are about the outworn traditions, which force women to assume lifeless roles, and the struggle for women to define identities of their own choice. In her famous article “I Carry My Shame to London”, she expresses her rebellion against conservative ideas. In addition, another novel, “A Loaf of Bread Beats like a Heart”, written in 1975, deals with political issues throughout the Arab world as well as the mistreatment of women (Talhami 289).

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