A Comparison of the Status of Women Within Two Ethnic Groups

Topics: Islam, United States, Racism Pages: 5 (1824 words) Published: November 22, 2006
It is not a secret that throughout the history women suffered an underprivileged social status. This particularly applies to the Muslim society, where even up to this day women are often thought of as having no soul (Kaleem). With the change of American immigration policy, the people of predominantly non-White origins started to pour into this country, thus contributing to the creation of multicultural society that we immensely enjoy nowadays. Yet, it was being noticed that unlike White immigrants, who were willing to become an essential part of American society, the people of different racial background preferred to remain within the boundaries of their cultural niche, often creating a society within the society. Therefore, the social status of women within such closed ethnic enclaves has not changed much from what they were in their native countries.

In this paper I will analyze different social status of women of two different races: Muslim and Asian.
Nearly one in five people in the world today are Muslim. A diverse community of believers is spread around the globe. More than fifty countries have Muslim-majority populations, while other groups of believers are clustered in minority communities on almost every continent. It is hard to determine the exact figure of the Muslim population in the United States. The reason is that there are three categories of Muslims: immigrants, converts, and those that are born to the first two groups. However, there is an estimate that varies from 5 to 8 million, of which about approximately half are women (Islam 101). There are 5.3 million females in U.S. of Asian background; this comprises 3.7% of American female population (The Health).

In Islam, women are expected to get married. It is considered an extremely sacred and important union. The marriages are arranged and are ironically more successful than an average marriage in the United States. Dowry is set according to the financial standing of the bridegroom and with the consent of both parties. As a wife, the woman has many responsibilities (Marriage in Islam). However, all of them are in some way interconnected and revolve around her husband, children, and maintenance of a successful household (Kaleem). As Muslims immigrate to America, they strongly maintain their beliefs, and continue to live and follow their rituals as closely as possible.

Majority of Asian families are based around an exceptionally strong kinship. The Asian community incorporates a large number of different religions. Therefore, their customs should not and can not be generalized. There are some that still believe in arranged marriages, but they tend to not be as authoritarian about it as the Muslims are. With each new generation that grows up in America, Asians tend to adapt to the way of life in their new country and somewhat loosen the grip on their customs. In US, Asian women are not as pressured into marriage and are strongly encouraged to pursue their education. Due to that fact, 35% of Asian women in the US complete at least four years of college (Daff). Asian women with bachelor's degrees actually make more money than the white women with their bachelor's. It is believed that there are several reasons for this discrepancy. The Asian women are going into engineering and business whereas the whites are going into the lower paying education and journalism. Also, the median Asian woman is older and further along her career path than the median white woman in the United States (Joyner). On the other hand, religious Muslim women are only expected to fulfill their wifely duties and let the husbands worry about everything else. The Koran states that "He should provide for all her reasonable needs" (Kaleem).

Unlike Asian women, Muslim women are obligated to wear hijabs that cover their whole body with the exception of the face and hands. They only cover themselves in front of men who are not their direct relatives to...

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4. Daff, Marieme
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8. Kaleem, Ata Ullah. "Marriage in Islam." November, 1992. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. October 24, 2005.
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