Status of Women in the West (25)
In the last episode of this series, let us discuss the women's rights movements which mostly emerged in the second half of the 20th century and were accelerated in the previous decades. Now we want to see whether these moves and the consequent conventions and regulations have been successful in meeting the demands of women.
Historical evidence shows that European women were denied their right of ownership before the Industrial Revolution and their income thoroughly belonged to husbands. The Industrial Revolution caused some protective rules to be passed and executed so that in 1886, for the first time in Europe, women were given economic independence. This privilege was ostensibly a humanitarian practice while it had aimed at making use of the workforce of women, especially during WWII. Death of millions of men in war theaters caused an unprecedented increase of wages in factories and persuaded European capitalists to use a workforce which was much cheaper than men with much lower salary. In other words, women worked more than 12 hours per day with one third of men's salary. This led to formation of broad efforts to fulfill women's rights which led to changes in the rules of some countries. One of these changes was in living expenses which are incumbent upon husbands for upkeep of wife and children. In many Islamic communities, even if the wife is needless of financial support, it is the husband who is duty-bound to maintain her and her children; while, after the mentioned movements in western countries, both couples were responsible for paying living expenses.
In Sweden, spouses share the duty to pay living expenses and each one should inform the other of his/her income and spending. If either of them doesn't receive enough salary, the spouse should compensate. In other words, the living situation of man and woman should be equal. Even in case of separation or divorce, the expenses of children should be determined. And if divorce takes place, one of the spouses will have to pay the living expenses of the divorced one for a while or the lifetime.
Although this equality seems pleasant and fair, researches have shown that family unit, as the most solid human structure, will not move or be active without financial leadership. While women in many western countries enjoyed the least human rights before the 20th century, feminist currents, too, put them in the most miserable conditions as they moved toward sordid behaviors like cohabitation, parentless families and countless other ills of immorality.
In the United states, one of the most common laws is the adoption of the husband's surname after marriage. This is practiced even after divorce and death of the husband. In other words, after marriage a woman finds a new identity and is recognized by her husband's surname.
In 1971, the Supreme Court of the United States, voted for legal request of Alabama State that, "A woman is duty-bound to introduce herself with her husband's surname until she has not appealed legally to change her name", and refused to issue positive vote for woman's usage of her real identity. Moreover, in 1976, Kentucky State Court refused to even hear the lawsuit of a married woman who had requested to put her own family name on her driving license. The ridiculous argument of the court was that there is no article with which the main identity of married women could be determined based on their individual gender; but it is the marital status which shows their identity. According to this law, married women have to use their husband's surname in all their IDs.
Thus, it can be concluded that common laws and codes in the west are based on dispossession of women of their human rights and real identity. This intensely contradicts the emphasis of feminism on equality of rights. However, the dire mistake of feminism, and the west at large, is that what they proclaim as gender equality is in fact gender sameness and similarity. This has led to humiliation of women and depriving them of their natural God-given rights. This is corroborated by the reports of medical, legal and penal centers on the terrible increase of single-parent families, immorality, illegitimate children, psychological diseases and so on. The great Iranian thinker of 20th century, Ayatollah Motahhari, wrote, "Although feminism was successful in recognizing that women were wronged because of being woman, it took women out of their natural and innate path; because woman and man are two stars in different orbits and each of them should move in its own orbit. What has created trouble in the west is uprising against the command of nature and nothing else."
Today, in spite of egalitarian rhetoric, women in the west have got to the realities that great divine messengers had made them ware of without the need to experience and suffer the consequences. If some of the western women have achieved more freedoms, they have lost the support of men who could grant them calm. Calm is a divine bounty between wife and husband. It is a blend of rationality and emotion.
Now let us listen to the comments of the expert of this series, Ms. Elham Akhundan, "Liberalism, as the dominant western culture, needed a powerful tool to take women along to promote this thought; and feminism managed to play this role properly. But the result of centuries of feminists' effort was that today, almost every community that accepted this culture willingly or unwillingly, is facing the following situation: The youths shun marriage and acceptance of a healthy life. Cohabitation has replaced legitimate marriage. The strong personality of woman, as the pillar of family, has turned into a weak, inferior and sexual commodity. Women are no more soulmates but have diminished to sexual tools. The role of motherhood has been undermined and nursery school has replaced lovely lap of mother. Men have turned from supporters of women into dominant masters over them. Women, due to their nature, are suffering from compunction and the constant feeling of sin because of abandoning Godly duties. The power of man's leadership in family has weakened and looks at woman as a rival to seize his role rather than a friend and soulmate. Abandoning traditional living standards has resulted in a life without commitment. Finally, the one who benefited from the idea of equality with men, was men and not women."