Mauritania, Libya and Saudi Arabia: Gender Inequality

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Feminism is all about pressing for gender equality across the globe

One of the main concerns in feminism is how slow curbing gender inequality has been, despite the movement being a core figure in feminism. The origin of feminism claims to have been in France and Netherlands, and it incorporates a diverse range of social causes, from education for girls to property rights for women. Women in today’s times have less access to an education, in comparison to men, as well as earn a smaller income. Women in states such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and India (the northern hemisphere) sometimes have to face a curbing of freedom to move in public spaces and communicate with people, and the problem has a religious crossover because this is both for Muslims and upper-caste Hindus.

Fundamental Rights for Women in Developing Nations

Gender inequality for women is also evident in cultural practices in various countries, such as Libya, Mauritania and Saudi Arabia. Although, in states such as Afghanistan, progress has been made in cutting Taliban stronghold over the rights of women, and consistently have them wear a burqa, the struggles of progress for women to gain a lot more freedom in their own country is far from over. Often it can be found that gender inequality stems for women from a strong misunderstanding of local cultural hierarchies, and it is prevalent, so the more that these issues are debated about, positive change befalling upon women in the world, for their rights, can be faster.


In Mauritania, intolerance towards women is unusually high. Less than thirty percent of the female working age group attain employment nationally, forced marriages for women is widespread, women have restrictive property rights (owing to sharia law) in comparison to men, there is an absence of institutionalized support for victims of domestic violence and sexual harassment, and there is a bias towards the son in the family, when it comes to education.


In Libya, when a woman is married she is offered the task of looking after her husband, as more of an obligation enshrined into law, as well as attend to household and childcare duties. For this, the husbands will provide them with relative financial security, regulation of their earrings but there is barely any polygamy in most marriages to begin with. Most men in Libya enjoy the idea of having more than one wife but most women, on the contrary, gravely oppose this point of view. However, there is improvement in sight, if the Libyan economy (with a deprived workforce), can show that in agriculture, more women assume responsibilities, due to men leaving their rural provinces.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, gender inequality is a lost concept. Sharia law decides the personal lives of women, and only as recently as late 2013, did the country achieve its first set of women lawyers. The patriarchal family system determines a couple of major decisions in the lives of the women in the family: for example, a woman will need the permission of her mahram to get wed. This, then fuels thoughts over polygamy, which is an unreliable source of doubt for marriages in Saudi Arabia, however, which is a good sign of cultural progress for an Arab nation. In the country, other similar signs of improving states of gender equality include the criminalization of domestic abuse, since 2013. But going downhill simply does not stop: there are still too many critical issues surrounding the nature of divorce cases because it is tougher for women to argue for a divorce in the face of primitive opinions regarding it for women, which prioritize the dishonorable nature of women in Saudi Arabia, pressing for a divorce, rather than leaving it upto their mahram.


Author: Osmi Anannya

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