Your book “Islam and human rights in the dialogue of cultures and religions” covers the subject of women’s legal status. How does this approach reveal itself as it is changing over times? What must be done to change the stereotype about suppression of women’s rights in Islam?
– Historical evolution is noticeable, especially in the ХХ century. It includes various directions of broader women’s rights liberalization in different areas. It happens due to the international standards which is gradually fixing in different parts of the world. We shouldn’t forget that legalization of women’s rights in the international conventions, agreements and pacts is a serious factor that affects the situation in the Muslim world. Many Islamic countries are involved in these pacts and implement them in one or another way. Another fact is more active involvement of women in the public life of the countries and their educational level improvement. This is incomparable with the situation which was 50 years ago.
Many Muslim women have a work though not to the same extent as men. In many countries they are elected deputies of the parliament. All these factors change women’s legal status.
In family relationships a right develops in different directions. In general, however, the legislation is more focused on women’s rights guaranteeing. I can give a notable example. In Tunisia the family legislation is not consider man as a head of the family anymore. Now spouses have equal responsibilities.30 years ago it was hard to imagine such situation. Though Tunisia is the one country in the region where such a significant change of men’s legal status has happened, however, it is a signal. Now women get more privileges in the issues of marriage dissolution, they get more opportunities to work, travel and leave their houses. In all countries with the electoral system women have the right to vote. Kuwait was the last country which stood against it, however eventually it accepted these conditions. There is an interesting example with Saudi Arabia. Everyone thinks that there are municipals elections only where women can be elected, which stresses the suppression of women’s rights in this country. But let’s take country’s commercial center Jeddah as an example.
Certainly, some traditions are stay remained still. There is a plural marriage there. A Muslim woman can be married to one man only. Such constants are unbreakable. The only one country where there are no plural marriages is Tunisia, they have more European standards. Men there still have more opportunities for marriage dissolutions. However, currently women’s rights in this regard are expanding. The main thing is that the process is launched.
Though the Islamic world is still lags behind such countries as the Nordic countries in which women assume many of the leadership positions. There woman can be a Minister of Defense.