Friday, 12 May 2017

The Sins Of The Father

In a recent study it seems that Arab men are just as religiously 'conservative' as their fathers ... literally.

Gender Inequality - Everyone Agrees Where It Occurs ... Well, Perhaps Not Everyone.

The study by The International Men and Gender Equality in the Middle East and North Africa (IMAGES MENA), found that where their father had been a misogynist, patriarchal pig, then the son also adopted the same views as well. The interviews were undertaken in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian territories (only one of which, Morocco, is comparatively 'liberal') - Lebanon of course has a Shia Muslim population in the South, but Christian North, and this will have impacted its responses. However that said, the study covered 10,000 people, including women.

The findings showed some schizophrenia in the answers:

  • For instance, the majority of men (up to 90% in some places), expected to control their wives freedoms, from clothing to how often the couple had sex.
  • Around 50% or fewer, said that they believe married women should have the same right to work as men, and this was qualified by the proviso that the man should remain the household breadwinner, and the woman remained primarily responsible for caring for the household.
  • Oddly, or perhaps not so oddly given the role models Arab women lack, more than 70% of women said they wanted the right to work, but the majority also agreed that when work is scarce men should have priority.
  • However, strangely, a majority of men questioned in all four survey locations, said they would accept having a female boss.
  • Only about 25% of the men questioned believed in any sort of equality of the sexes ... and that was couched with many catches. Lebanon, was the only country where the younger men displayed more liberal attitudes towards gender equality than their elders, but in all cases where young men's fathers had more liberal attitudes, they were more likely to as well.

This patriarchal societal approach to the sexes worked for many in the past, when population stresses were smaller, and jobs available, but the Arab world has seen a population explosion in the last fifty years, but without any job creation measures to keep up with this growth. The result is that the report concluded that whilst the patriarchy continues to work for the very small minority of men who are on the top of society, for the rest down below, lots of women, and many, many, men, find that life is very tough.

Gender Inequality - A Battle Being Fought In Many Cultures

The conclusion is as discussed before on previous posts, that Islam is finding the 21st century a bitter pill to swallow - old certainties are coming under increasing pressure as the twin evils of high unemployment, and the numerous internal Muslim wars across the region, mean that for many, being the patriarchal head of their households, when they have no job prospects is not a sustainable position any more. High unemployment, and the struggle to find a job, could even be producing a "backlash" against gender equality, with the "general climate" of old term religious conservatism that many young men have now grown up with, also playing a role.

Its therefore perhaps not surprising that so many men turn to the certainty of paradise via Jihad, rather than face up to the changes and challenges that this century is inevitably going to bring to their societal structures.


  1. Your analysis makes a lot of sense, and not just for Muslims with their patriarchal beliefs. The moves towards equality have impacted on more liberal men alike because, like many advances of the modern world, they come many times faster than the glacial pace of evolution.

    Our brains may tell us that women are equal to men but everything else, our culture, our instincts to protect and provide and our spider removal skills shackle us to our historic role.

    The biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK is suicide which may be the more civilised, nonreligious, desperate response to the problem.

    1. Interestingly the high rate of suicide in males under 45 in the UK, is not reflected in the more patriarchal ethnic minorities .... make of that what you will.

      Oh, and I agree that our spider removal skills are not to be sniffed at LOL.


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