Women in Contemporary Times

Maryam Jameelah reported that the first champions of the movement for women's 'emancipation' were no other than the very well known western thinkers, Marx and Engel.

Maryam Jameelah reported that the first champions of the movement for women's 'emancipation' were no other than the very well known western thinkers, Marx and Engel. They were undoubtedly the founders of Communism that proved to be a disastrous system of life. Their communist Manifesto (1948) preached that marriage, home and family were nothing more than a curse which has kept women in perpetual slavery. Thus, they insisted that the women must be liberated from domestic servitude and achieve full eco- nomic independence through whole-time employment in in- dustry. The main aim of those women liberation champions and other adamant supporters of feminism was to grant women as much freedom to indulge in illicit sex as the men through mixed education, employment outside the home side by side with men, social functions and courtship before marriage in semi-nude fashion, mixed social functions which include drinking, drug-taking and dancing. This included the widespread use of contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion to prevent unwanted pregnancies, at the expense of the women who carry the burden of emancipation. Fami- lies are broken. Children are neglected and abused. Morality has become an old un- wanted commodity.

Many concerned intellectuals have openly uttered their concern regarding the unlimited personal freedom that has resulted in great damage to the society as a whole, and prob- ably to humanity at large. Among those in- tellectuals is Max Lerner, an acknowl- edged American histo- rian and columnist. In an article in the Read- ers' Digest as early as April 1968, he uttered his deep con- cern regarding the dramatic negative changes that took place under the guise of personal freedom by writing:

The Communist Mani- festo preached that mar- riage, home and family were nothing more than a curse which has kept women in perpetual sla- very.

We are living in a Babylonian soci- ety, ... the emphasis is on the senses and the release of sexuality. All the old codes have been broken down. Until recently, the church, the government, the family and the community have dictated what can and cannot be expressed in public. How- ever, now these institutions have been overrun by the demands of a mass society that demands to see and hear everything. Across the United States of America, audiences pack art houses and neighborhood theaters to watch the multiple or- gasms of a seldom-clothed young Swedish actress in I, a Woman. Ital- ian director, Michelangelo Antonioni breaks the taboo against head-on, total nudity in Blow-up. In Barbarella, a film built around the endless se- ductions of a French comic-strip heroine, Jane Fonda hops from one nude scene to the next in celebra- tion of the erotic life. Portrait of Ja- son, a remarkable voyage into the twisted soul of a black, male prosti- tute, compresses in less than two hours all the raw language and can- did corners of life that today find free expression in almost every indepen- dent American film. The Jesuit theo- logian, Father Walter J. Ong, says: 'We are going to have to live with a degree of freedom much greater than anything we've known in the past...


Infidelity and extramarital sex are becoming part of in- dividual personal freedoms in most western and western- ized societies. Fidelity in today's marriages has become ide- alistic. Such extramarital sex practices have caused many problems in the society at large. Abortion rates are escalat- ing; more children are born out of wedlock. Social and psy- chological traumas have severely affected the family as a heaven for its members. One factor behind such extramari- tal practices is related to the imbalance in the number of men and women in most western communities.

According to The National Opinion Research Cen- ter (1995), 25% ofAmerican married men had sex partner(s), (from one to six), beside their wives during the past twelve months. During the same period, about 15% of American married women had other sex partners beside their hus- bands (from one to six). During their lifetime, American men usually have an average of six sex partners.

The National Center for Health Statistics con- ducted interviews with 60,201 women in re- sponse to National Sur- vey of Family Growth between January and October 1995. Only 10.5% of women inter- viewed did not have partners beside their husbands. The remain- ing 89.5% of women re- ported having extra- marital relations. Abstract of the United States 1998

The Clinton-Lewinsky drama may take place with or- dinary people but is not expected of the commander-in-Chief of the most powerful nation on earth.

It involved very outra- geous sexual acts and discussed in the most disgusting way that parents had to keep their children away from watching their TV sets or listening to the horrible details of such im- moral relations.

Why is this taking place in a society that is in great need of family ethics and morality and where fatal diseases like AIDS are serious threats?

The answer is very simple. These immoral practices are expected to happen in any society that has lost its divinely re- vealed values and mor- als, which control the fragile relationship be- tween women and men.

Infidelity and other un- chaste practices are ex- pected to become the norm in societies that perceive morality, virgin- ity and chastity as radical, backward and abnormal. The National Center for Health Statistics conducted interviews with 60,201 women in response to National Survey of Fam- ily Growth between January and October 1995. Only 10.5% of women interviewed did not have partners beside their husbands. The remaining 89.5% of women reported having extramarital relations.


As long as programs like "Dr. Ruth Live" are unleashed to teach open sex on the air and other similar programs, only horrible statistics like the following are expected. In 1990 alone about, 67% of teenage births were to unmarried moth- ers; this is excluding abortions. What is more disastrous is that in the majority of teenager births, the mothers are left alone to carry the financial and emotional responsibilities of raising the newly born babies. The males just abandon them both, and probably look for other easy preys. Macmillan Vi- sual Almanac (1995) reported that 70% of American boys had had sexual intercourse before the age of 18, while 56% of the girls had lost their virginity by that age.

Men and women mix and mingle freely with one an- other with no reasonable restrictions in such a society where these kinds of relations between men and women are preva- lent. Men and women could lock themselves alone in houses, offices or any other private locations; just as President Clinton did with Monica in the Oval office with the excuse that they were involved in serious work for the good of the nation. Western and western-like societies, have for long time, had blindly demolished moral principles to accommo- date false values and principles deceived by the mirage of modernization and liberalism which pushed men and women into dark tunnels of adultery and hypocrisy.


Equal Employment Opportunity Commission stated that reported sexual harassment complaints by female em- ployees were 10,578 cases during the year 1992.

In 1993, the number increased to be 12,537 cases.39 The problem is not only restricted to the USA, but rather a global one, espe- cially in societies that put no restrictions in men/women re- lations. According to a recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO), entitled 'Combating Sexual Ha- rassment at Work',

Of all women surveyed in the United States, 42% of women reported some kind of sexual harassment. The report included countries like Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom.

The Labor Research Depart- ment made a survey in 1987 in which 75% of women re- sponding to the questionnaire reported that they had under- gone some form of sexual harassment in their workplaces.40 According to the Center of Health and Gender Equality (CHANGE) for Population Reports, 25% of women in Aus- tralia reported sexual abuse in the year 1997. The same percentage was reported in Switzerland during the year 1996.

In Costa Rica, 32% of women surveyed reported some form of sexual harassment, while 8% of women studied in Malay- sia reported that they had been sexually harassed.


Single parenting was not a common type of human social relations throughout history. It was only during the later part of the last century that this type of family relations has developed. Escalating rates of divorce and the birth of chil- dren to unmarried mothers have been the major factors behind the emergence of single parenting. The decay of morality in western and western-like societies because of very alarming rates of children born out of wedlock has reached about 50 % of all births in a country like Sweden. A more proper term for such a family type should have been mother headed family. Mothers head more that 90% of these single parent families.

The UK has occupied the highest rank in the number of single parent families in the whole of Europe. The Times is- sue of the 27th of September 1991, reported that the percentage of single parent families has doubled during the nineties; 16.7% in comparison to 8.3% during the early seventies.

Women compose 90% of these families. Similar situations were also reported in Aus- tralia.41 Jean Lewis (1992) has blamed the escalating num- ber of single parent families on three emerging social changes: (1) fast increase in the number of working women outside the home, (2) escalating rates of divorce during the 70's & 80's and (3) the dramatic increase in the birth of ille- gitimate children.42

Escalating rates of divorce and the birth of children to unmarried moth- ers have been the major factors be- hind the emer- gence of single parenting.


Violence in the family against women and children in particular has greatly increased. Though such a problem is not confined to Western societies, it has become the norm of life. In the US, for example, more than two million women have reported to the police violent aggression by a husband or a partner. Aburdene and Naisbitt (1993) have also stated that four women are beaten to death on a daily basis in the US.43 One in five women victimized by their spouses or ex- spouses report they had been victimized over and over again by the same person.

The following report by National Crime Victimization Survey Report summarizes the magnitude of violence against women in the US.

A study of violence against women shows that two-thirds of these at tacks were committed by someone the victim knew--such as a husband, boyfriend, other family member or acquaintance--a much higher figure than for men. The survey, conducted by the Jus- tice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics, found approximately 2.5 million of the nation's 107 million fe- males 12 years old and older were raped, robbed or assaulted in a typi- cal year, or were the victim of a threat or an attempt to commit such a crime. Twenty-eight percent of the offenders were intimates, such as husbands or boyfriends, and another 39 percent were acquaintances or relatives . . .. The findings were drawn from more than 400,000 in- terviews conducted between 1987 and 1991. The report pointed out that although violent crimes against males have decreased since the Bureau of Jus- tice Statistics started its annual vic- timization surveys in 1973, the rate against females has remained rela- tively constant

Although black females were more than twice as likely as were white females to be robbery victims, there were no significant racial differences in per capita rates among female victims of rape or assault .45 Senator Joseph Biden reported that nationally, 50 per- cent of all homeless women and children are on the streets because of violence in the home.46 Bennett and La Violette (1993) estimated around four million women report experiencing some kind of physical assault yearly. This takes place at a time where only half a million car accidents take place. Seventy five percent of vio- lence takes place because the woman asks for di- vorce.

According to United Nations' 1991 Report on Women in India, the social custom that the bride's fam- ily should pay dowry to the bridegroom has proven to work against promoting harmony in the marriage.

Many men demand high dowry and valuable gifts even after marriage. When the families of poor women cannot meet the demand of the greedy husbands, they face brutal and sometimes deadly assaults. In the year 1987 alone, about 1786 women were killed because of falling short of meeting the dowry demands of their husbands.

The social problem of violence against women in such very large and increasing scales is not peculiar to the US but rather a common phe- nomenon in other western and western-like societies. In Austria, 59% of divorce cases were blamed on vio- lence within the household during the year 1984.49 Dur- ing the year 1992, Aburdene and Nasibit (1993) mentioned that 50% of women were killed in England by their hus- bands or partners.50All these reported atrocities taking place made only 22% of the abused women in the same year. It is estimated that 88% of the cases of violence against women went unre- ported.

According to Russian government records, in the year 1993 alone, "14,500 Russian women were murdered by their husbands. Another 56.400 were disabled or seriously in- jured." Domestic violence statistics of crimes against women in England and the United States are alarming." According to Home Office Research, 18 percent of homicides in En- gland and Wales are of wives killed by their husbands, with a quarter of all recorded violent crimes blamed on domestic violence." (jahiliyah). Islam came to abolish the abuse of women and children and to restore dignity to women, young and old alike.

Because of the social chaos that is taking place in many societies of the world, abuse is not only directed to- wards the weak members of the society as indicated above but rather towards those in charge of educating and disci- plining. Based on a report by the Carnegie Foundation, the percentage of teachers in the U.S. who say that they have been verbally abused was 51%. As for those who have been threatened with injury, the proportion was 16% but those who have been physically attacked were 7%.53