Women and the New East

Women and the New East

Women and the New East

Women and the New East

Excerpt

A Study of the Role of Women in the Moslem East--Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia--and India

1956-1957

The following report gives the results of a study of the Role of Women in the Moslem East and India in 1956-1957, which has included Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia and India, and is closely-related to my study of five Arab countries (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria) made in 1954-1955. These two studies constitute a natural sequence to an earlier research project on the changing status of Moslem women made under a Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship, 1929-1931, which was the basis for the book, Moslem Women Enter a New World (Allen and Unwin, London and Round Table Press, New York, 1936). This book is a landmark in the dramatic transition that was being made from the strict observance of Islamic tradition to a more liberal interpretation of the position of Moslem women.

This forward movement of women has steadily continued and been accelerated by tremendous political changes throughout Asia. Today, in the new sovereign nations of Asia, women are playing a role of increasing significance in social, economic, political and cultural life. The accent of the current study is therefore the role of women in the Moslem East, and not the changing status of Moslem women. Two decades ago they, were entering a new world. Today they are helping to shape that new world.

Significant also of the advance is the marked decrease in the difference between the status of Moslem and non-Moslem women and the growing integration of the activities of women in each country. For this reason, the two recent studies have not been specifically a study of Moslem women, but of women per se in the cultural framework of Islam. Hence the sub-title of the current study, The Role of Women in the Moslem East and India. India is obviously not in the Moslem East, as the title indicates, but is included in the current study because of the . . .

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