The feminist movement in the United States began more than a century ago. Although it was not labeled as such until the late 1950s, a review of women's history in the United States reveals that women have long fought for social, economic and political parity. While the roots of the feminist movement in the United States are relatively easy to trace, the same cannot be said of the feminist movement in the Middle East. Even though women in the Middle East are now seeking gender parity, it is evident that this movement toward equality is inextricably bound with a host of religious and social issues that make it difficult for the researcher to delineate clear feminist changes. Thus, even though some scholars have defensively argued that feminism is indeed taking hold in the Middle East, the context in which feminism is defined is not the same as it is in Western discourse.
[...] Clearly, when compared to the feminist movement in the United States, the feminist movement in the Middle East is not the same. In the United States, the process of feminism is one that is predicated upon the development of a larger society in which gender does not impact decision-making in any manner. In the Middle East however feminism is directly linked to policymaking as a central means to reduce the oppression of women by regulating the behavior of men. When placed in this context, many American scholars contend that this process is not one that is commensurate with the basic context of Western feminism. [...]
[...] Without the diligent work of hundreds of women, the feminist movement in Iran would not have been able to secure the rights and freedoms that women currently enjoy. While it may be fair to argue that women in Iran still have a long road ahead of them, it is not fair to argue that the feminist movement in Iran has been unsuccessful. Feminism in Turkey Much Like Iran, Turkey also has a long history of feminist development that can be traced back to the nineteenth century. [...]
[...] Conclusion To argue that the feminist movement in the Middle East has had no relative impact toward improving the lives of women is to argue that the feminist movement in the United States has not accomplished its goals. The feminist movement in the Middle East is significantly different from what has occurred with respect to the feminist movement in Western discourse. However, the specific culture in which the feminist movement has taken place in both parts of the world is extremely different. [...]
[...] According to Mahdi the feminist movement in Iran began in the late nineteenth century as a direct result of the Constitutional Revolution. Mahdi notes that as European forces began to infiltrate the country, the basic structure of society in Iran began to change. Inundated with new ideas, Iranian society began to change. increasing contact with Europe awakened many educated men and women to the repressive conditions of Iranian women and led them to view these conditions as problematic and in need of change” (p. [...]
[...] While it is indeed true that problems still exist with respect to the social development of women, again it does not seem fair to argue that the feminist movement in Turkey has failed. Throughout the course of the 20th century, women to Turkey have acquired many rights that their ancestors before them could only dream about. Even though social attitudes toward women still create significant barriers were women in some socioeconomic classes, the ability of women to traverse both the political and economic spectrum is clearly a notable gain for women living at every level of the socioeconomic spectrum. [...]
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