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Saudi arabian culture - Literature review Example

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that the Western understanding of Muslim women appears unduly influenced and limited by evidence from only a few regions of Saudi Arabia2. The social science scholarship most familiar to the West about Muslim women seems to focus disproportionately on the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). Often seen as the land of Muslim excellence, ‘MENA’ is in fact home to fewer than 20 percent of the world’s Muslims. Nevertheless, it is an unfortunate reality that women in Saudi Arabian society, and in its local communities, face gender-based inequalities associated with Saudi’s so-called ‘patriarchal gender system.3’ Aspects of this originally pre-capitalist system persist in rural areas across a wide swath of lands, both Muslim and non-Muslim, from East Asia to North Africa. The Saudi Arabian social system, regardless of its religion, features and encourages kin-based extended families, male domination, early marriage (and consequent high fertility), restrictive codes of female conduct, the linkage of family honour with female virtue, and occasionally, polygamous family structure. In all Muslim areas, veiling and sex-segregation generally form part of the gender system.4 The seclusion of women from the rest of the world alongside the concurrent ban on sexualisation of women in the public eye has led to increased levels of sexual violence and abuse directed towards both women and children5. It is only recently that researchers have uncovered more accurate statistics on the occurrence of this abhorrent violence following the establishment of human rights based projects and refuges to rescue and protect women and children as well as to promote the welfare of the wider-public in general. 1) General Theoretical Background: Women and Gender An important foundation for the study of women and gender is to be found in the feminist literature of the 1970s. Around this time scientists had begun to untangle the complex interplay between biological gender differences, and the abstract concept of gender, which is now a socially determined construct imposed on all human beings from the moment they are born. (Maccoby and Jacklin, 1974) Terminology such as ‘the sexual revolution’ (Millet, 1970) were used to describe the birth of consciousness about women’s subordination to men in patriarchal societies and many aspects of women’s lives were re-examined in this light. This analysis is similar to some Marxist ideas because it identifies the concentration of wealth and power in one area as the source of oppression: “the position of women in patriarchy is a continuous function of their economic dependence.” (Millet: 1970) Another American feminist studied the ways in which women in patriarchal societies are conditioned to adopt domestic and subservient roles, stressing the social constraints, which are described as “a comfortable concentration camp.” (Friedan: 1963, p. 438) Later, scholars moved away from ...Show more
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Summary

The Status of Women in Saudi Arabia Introduction The Saudi Arabian economy is experiencing a significant and marked period of social evolution. According to Ramady (2010) the structural characteristics of the Saudi economy continue to change. The field of education is demonstrating a willingness to address pressing social issues affecting women in particular, which had in recent decades been taboo or ignored…
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