For years American women have been and still fight for equality. On the other side
of the world however lies a different story. In the Arab-Muslim society familiar western
concepts of sexual equality and the liberation of women are irrelevant and unnecessary
from local women’s point of view. Writing this essay I have explored and was fascinated
by the different definitions of the power of a woman and where exactly it lays.
In Arab-Muslim societies there is a complex, well defined and highly structured set
of gender roles which underpin personal and public life, and gives marriage and the
family a central importance, whereas in the U.S. gender roles have blended over the last
few decades to a point where both women and men have the same goals, with priority on
career advancement and high social status. It seems that all that separate women and men
in the U.S. are stereotypes and the ever disputable “Glass Ceiling.” With such diverse
emphasis on life, to compare in what ways the power of women in the U.S. and in the
middle eastern societies are different we would first have to define power,
Power- an ability || physical strength || controlling influence || a person of great influence
Authority and influence are recognized in different places in these two completely
different societies. An Arabian women’s realm is the home. Motherhood, childcare,
cooking, cleaning and managing domestic affairs make-up the primary female sphere of
Women in the U.S. cannot run away from these responsibilities, after all women in the
US do clean their houses, take care of children and manage domestic affairs, however, to
different extent and there is defiantly much more desire to work and earn money than in
the Muslim society. A Muslim woman views waged work as a necessary evil. They have
to earn money to help feed the family but they fear that it interferes with their “real work”
of managing domestic affairs and looking after children. All women emphasis that their
home life in contrary to women in the U.S. remains the number one priority.
The local women in the Arab-Muslim society are strong and mutually self-reliant. Female
friends and family support each other and depend on each other for assistance in their
work and domestic life. Female friendship involve very strong and intimate bonds.
American women do not usually confide in such a way to their fellow female friends and
manage to not involve outsiders. They derive most of their worth from their social status
and how much they have achieve materialistically and domestically. Arab-Muslim women
derive their worth from motherhood ( A women is judged b the number of children she
The power of an arab women is within her circle of friends and fellow females they
support each other and help out when needed, the power of an American women is not
judged in these areas but in how well she succeeds.
The Arab women are very dedicated to being secluded from public life and their power is
in supporting their family from behind the scenes. This isn’t how women in the US feel
about power however our norms are different, the act of buying the same groceries as
your husband did so he won’t be ashamed of not providing enough, or trading local
gossip and vital information about prospective spouses may not be viewed as power
however these are the charectrastics of a smart and respected women in the Muslim
The obstacles that women in the U.S. feel they have to face are usually not many
compared to those of the muslim women. Along with being a very dedicated mother, wife
and friend most of these women have to work behind closed doors to provide better
living. They have to hide the fact that they work so that their families will not be
ashamed, this is very hard for women in the muslim society, inevitable women carry the
Many american women work and take care of domestic affairs as well, however,
american women do not have to hide the fact that they work, this does not hurt their pride,
on the contrary women in the U.S. like to be viewed as successful working women.
Muslim women interpret and respond to the changing world according to the rules and
ideals they value most which are motherhood, wifehood, and female friendship. This
sets boundaries that are much thicker than those of the american women .
Muslim women as I have mentioned earlier have strong intimate relationships with
their female friends and family, they accomplish most of their goals through these ties and
with their support. For example, Although women’s part in the matchmaking process is
subtle and concealed it is the only way open to them to plan a marriage which secures
When maternal relatives marry, it further expands and strengthens women mutual
support group which allows them to settle the domestic problems their children may have
much more easily since the have a common goal.
A women in the american society would not have to conceal her thoughts and ideas and
would freely address the situation, stating what she would like to happen and hopefully
accomplish her goal. This is a very straight forward approach whereas the muslim way is
secret and quiet. Going back to the marriage example, arab women accomplish their goals
deviously and quietly. She has much influence in the decision of the candidates for
marriage of her children, even though the ultimate decision is made by the husband.
Through her female friends and relatives the woman can decide what she would like to
show and the husband will choose from those she believe she would like. In this manner
whomever the husband chooses will have been a good match in the women’s mind and
In the context of their respective societies I believe that women in the middle east
are less successful at achieving their goals than women in the U.S. there are many woman
all over the world who would love to spend more time with their family and support their
friends however they understand their duties and see it as an obligation to those who they
love to see all the roads that lay before them and choose the best one. I strongly admire
the Arab women for standing up for what they believe and managing to cope around it
and still be optimistic but i believe in taking charge and doing whatever it has to take.
This has been the american way for a long time and in my mind the most efficient way to
approach life, to not limit yourself and explore everything that you can benefit from. I see
these women who are very strong in my opinion however they have much to offer to the
world and they are not being fair to themselves to devote their whole life to the serving of
other people. As for achieving goals I’d have to say that i still stick with the american way
because “if your not willing to give it your all then don’t even try”. Arab women limit
themselves to what they are able to achieve in life.
Being a women I believe we are powerful in many ways and wish that all societies could
learn from each other, we could learn from arab women to appreciate and put more
emphasis on home life and they could finally show themselves to world, shine as we
all should in the spotlight and not behind the scenes and achieve all the goals we desire.