Society and Norms: Gender Roles - Treatment of Native vs. Foreign Women

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Traditionally the women of Pakistan, like most other Muslim countries, are treasured and protected. They are seen as the vessels of family honor and are therefore closely guarded. Women are honored and respected as good wives, mothers and pious individuals. In the Qur’an women are given equal rights to education and inheritance. They are seen as having a domestic role to fulfill that is equally as important as a male's role [10]. The treatment of women however varies between geographical area, ethnic groups, and class. Women that are wealthy, highly educated, and/or live in the city tend to have more freedom than women who live in rural areas and/or are poor. Recently with the importation of radical Islamic sects from other countries, the takeover of Pakistan by the Taliban, and the implementation of Sharia law, the role and treatment of women has changed. In areas ruled by the Taliban, women are not allowed to go out shopping by themselves and are not allowed to attend school.

Although Pakistani women are generally treated with respect, foreign women are often not accorded the same respect. Foreign women are often thought to be immoral compared to Muslim women. Men may see foreign women as loose and treat them like prostitutes. They may go as far as to grab a foreign woman's body believing it is a permissible action.

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