Hardly is there any other region in the world where women of the same social status can have wildly different lives and daily lifestyles as those who live in the Middle East.
The Middle East is a cultural puzzle.
In certain places, the daily life is deeply entrenched in tradition whereas other places are a modern haven with western ways of life being followed. This means that there are women who lead empowered city lives and those who are bound to a traditional existence in villages.
A city in which the Middle Eastern woman wakes up at 6 a.m, prepares to go to work and leaves her apartment in a business suit.
She may be an executive or a leader in her department tasked with making tough decisions. As such, assertiveness is a lifeline for her. Same goes for other qualities like wit, creativity, and risk-taking. She uses all these to her advantage and she hopes these and more qualities she can develop or acquire from observing her peers and superiors will help her climb the corporate ladder.
Now for the REAL Daily Life of A Middle Eastern Woman
She is most likely independent-minded and career oriented. Her village counterpart wakes up earlier than 5 a.m, prepares her family breakfast and tends to household duties.
She dresses up in a burqa and only her husband sees her face.
Her daily job includes teaching the daughters socially acceptable behavior with emphasis on total subservience to men.
This, she teaches, is part of divine law.
It is maktub. It is written. She cannot go through city streets unaccompanied by a male relative, even if that said relative happens to be her smaller male kin.
These two cases are different passages of the same story about the uneven roles women play in the Middle East.
“They are a testament to how the progression of women’s rights is unequal”, say sources.
What is astonishing is that this unevenness in empowerment levels is not a new phenomenon within the Middle Eastern nations.
“The only thing that changes is the conditions under which discrimination occurs”, said one woman that wanted to stay anonymous for fear of persecution.
In religious terms, comparisons and especially differences can be seen between the pre-Islamic period and the Islamic period.
In cultural terms, we can easily tell apart Traditional Middle Eastern culture from a Westernised Middle Eastern culture.
Women empowerment in the Middle East is a slowly turning wheel, but one that like all revolutions, once it starts moving is very hard to stop.