Gender roles and expectations have constantly evolved throughout history. Many of the practices that used to restrict the rights of women have been gotten rid of, thus giving women are more equal footing in modern-day society. However, even with the rise of awareness for women’s rights, many women are not afforded the same luxuries and opportunities as women who live in countries that are more developed.
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In places such as the Middle East, women virtually have no rights whatsoever. In My Daughter, Malala, Ziauddin Yousafzai addresses the issues that Pakistani women face. They are used as bartering tokens in marriages, and are restricted from leaving their homes, unless a man accompanies them. In Kenya, women are treated just as poorly as Middle Eastern women are. In A Girl Who Demanded School Kakenya Ntaiya details the struggles that many Kenyan women must put up with. Arranged marriages are also a common occurrence in Kenya. Kakenya Ntaiya, a native of the small Kenyan village of Enoosaen, was engaged at five years old. She had to agree to undergo female circumcision, so she could stay in high school. Once she graduated, she was able to get permission to go to college in the United States of America. She was the first girl in her village to ever leave and pursue a higher-level education. In Our Century’s Greatest Injustice, Sheryl WuDunn speaks on the numerous occasions that she was witnessed women being deprived of their rights. In My Daughter, Malala, A Girl Who Demanded School, and Our Century’s Greatest Injustice, it is evident that despite being disadvantaged through cultural, religious, and societal means, women all around the world are still striving to better themselves and break the molds of traditional gender roles.
In My Daughter, Malala, Ziauddin Yousafzai speaks on the climate regarding women and their quest for equality in Pakistan. Ziauddin is an educated man who was freely allowed to go to school and learn when he was younger. This is the same for all boys in Pakistan. If Pakistani boys want to further their education, it is completed accepted. This, however, is not the same for girls growing up in Pakistan. In Pakistan, men are the dominant figures in society. Everything is decided by men, and often times, they do not factor in the opinions of women. Pakistanis believe that men should have the final say in any discussion, and any woman who tries to give her input can be punished severely, or even killed. This causes many women to stay inside their homes since this is where they are the safest from inequality and ridicule (Men and Women, Gender Relations). In Pakistani culture, it is only acceptable for me to receive an education. This allows men to get jobs that require skill,
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