In the twentieth century this institution became an icon of the past in the west, because of the women's rights movement the freeing of sexuality. However, this does not mean that the actual institution of arrange marriages is bad and restrictive to the women's rights. In fact in many cases, in the past, an arranged marriage was used by the family to ensure their daughter would be sufficiently provided for and protected. This discussion is going to explore whether Muslim arranged marriages are a positive or negative institution. It will do this by exploring the literature of the women's rights movement; as well as referring to Islamic law. It will then consider the results of a ten point questionnaire that was performed on variety of Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK. Finally it will consider the research a long the lines of correlating the data that was obtained and considering the theoretical basis of whether arranged marriages are in fact a positive or negative institution.
The main contenders against arranged marriages are women's rights theorists, because it is a way to sell your daughter to gain economic or status benefits. Therefore this discussion will focus on the women's rights theory for and against arranged marriages then consider Islamic law and the benefits of the institution. Inequality is a reality for women at all levels of life, in the home, in the labor market and as a citizen of the state. The laws of liberal democratic states have set up value neutral laws that are based in an androgynous view of the sexes; however this is not the reality of situation, because the state, family and labor market is based on systemic discrimination of women, i.e. men have created the system and have inherently based the position of women, at best as second class citizens and at worst as the property of men. Within the Islamic world these traditional roles are still celebrated and marrying is tantamount for the women at an early age to produce a family, which results in the parents endeavoring to find a suitable partner to look after their daughter and the family name. Women's rights theorists both within Islamic countries and the west are arguing that women should have equal economic opportunities in the workplace and although having a family to many women is still important this does not meant that a women has to sacrifice her career. This has made the theory of re-distribution key to creating equality economically, socially and politically for women. Therefore this discussion will consider the theories of re-distribution and then apply them to women's social and political situations, which then should cause changes in women's social image and therefore create a situation of equality in the family. Women's groups would argue that if women were allowed to live up to their full capabilities in the workplace then arranged marriages would not be necessary because women would not be at a disadvantage. They could choose a life partner and mate without the protections of their family. Inequalities within the labour market and domestic home life have been the focus for theorists that emphasize the need for a level playing field1. It is necessary for this systemic discrimination to be tackled by re-distributive justice, which feminists such as Mackinnon2 purport. Also the home life or private life has been greatly ignored it is not until recent years that domestic violence has become socially unacceptable, even so authorities