Sunday, 7 June 2009

Women, marriage and double standards

Why are many educated, successful working muslim women not as successful when it comes to marriage?? Munira Lekovic Ezzeldine in her article 'How hard can it be' talks about how people expect a woman to be married by a particular age and how men want their wives to play a more 'traditional role'. Here are a few excerpts from her article and my views.

My husband and I recently tried to match-make a couple of our friends. Omar began telling his friend about a really nice woman we knew at 33, successful, beautiful. His first response was, "So, what's wrong with her? Why is she 33 and not married?" Looking at the 30-year-old man before me, my first thought was, "I could ask you the same thing." However, the reality set in that there's a double standard when it comes to the issue of age and marriage...Once a young woman passes the age of 25 and remains single, she is considered "old" and often finds it difficult to find a suitable spouse

I find these double standards appalling. Where I come from its not even 25 but 22/23 ! So you can see parents starting to scramble around looking for prospective grooms for their daughters no sooner they hit 20/21.I know parents who agree to let their daughters marry a man who’s much older because they think he would then be well-established in life and would be able to care of his family better. Whats even worse is the fact that that people around start asking your parents whether they've started looking and somehow manage to convince them that their daughter should be given in marriage as soon as possible.

In recent decades, men have also become highly educated and progressive, and have even fought for women's rights and the elevation of women in Islam. However, while these men are impressed with a successful and active woman, they do not consider her "marriage material." Despite the elevation of women, many men have maintained traditional ideas as to the type of wife they seek. After all, they do not see anything wrong with the way their mother was.

Why do these ‘progressive’ men even bother fighting for our Muslim women to be allowed to hold high posts ,to be allowed to wear the hijab at ,etc when they would never marry such a woman and wouldn’t let her work? Inferiority complex?

Many Muslim women seek not to compete with men, but rather to establish a partnership with their spouse. Ultimately, these women want to be cherished and loved in the same way that the Prophet loved Khadija.

I agree with her completely. We DO NOT want to compete with our husbands. We just want to be well educated in addition to being a good mum and wife. What is wrong with that?I am not doing a law degree so that I could file away my certificate once i get married .However, I do agree that a woman’s role is first in her home. Her duty is first towards her husband and children. I do not think a woman should be independent to the extent that she has a 9 to 5 job and ignores her home, being carried away by all that comes with being a working woman. Once she starts a family a woman could consider other avenues to keep what she has learnt live such as lecture part-time or even maybe work from home, but with regard to marriage, a woman should not be forced to marry by a particular age merely because no man would marry her once she passes the age of 25.

You can read the full article here