The Parity Disparity

This is Malala Yousefzai, she is a fifteen year old girl from Pakistan who has earned great fame for advocating the education of girls in her country in spite of a Taliban ban against educating females. On October 9th of this year she was the victim of an assassination attempt by a Taliban gunman, she was shot twice, once in the head and once in the neck, luckily she was not immediately killed and is being treated in England. However the Taliban has vowed to kill her should she survive her wounds. The extremist Muslim group has issued a statement defending the attempted killing on religious grounds, saying anyone who “campaigns against Islam and Sharia (Muslim law) is ordered to be killed by Sharia.”

Malala is, sadly, one example of a much larger problem within not only Islamic circles but in theistic circles as a whole. It’s just one more example of the crimes and injustices that can be justified by placing your faith in a system which is based primarily on an ancient document riddled with long out-dated strictures, biases and prejudices. Islam and Sharia are no different from Christianity in this respect. Neither of these systems has ever been about promoting equality between men and women, in spite of what modern apologists would have us believe.  The bible is riddled with instances where women are judged to be inferior to men, in many cases property of men, unclean, mentally deficient, morally unwholesome, and generally untrustworthy ( Genesis 3:16 Leviticus 27: 3-7, Deuteronomy 5:21 Deuteronomy 22:23-24  Ephesians 5:22-23 are just a few examples) The quran is no better for this in spite of all the talk about the strictures placed on muslim women being a sign of respect for them, and a desire to keep them pure. The text itself says quite plainly that while a muslim woman has similar rights to a man the man is a step above the woman (2:228) It also says quite plainly that a woman is worth one half of a man (2:282) and that men are in charge of women because allah made men superior to women (4:34)

This is not, as some would have us believe, “misinterpreting the text” or being too literal in our interpretations. This is simply reading the text. There are literally billions of people around the world that hold to faiths that contain these statements. Is it any surprise that the plight of women around the world for centuries has been, and in some places remains to this day, atrocious? These two books have influenced law and culture around the globe for centuries.  Thirteen centuries after the supposed life of Christ Thomas Aquinas wrote the following:

As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power.”

Aquinas’ various writings on the nature of women have been used by the Catholic church to defend their misogynistic position against female clergy and to justify the male dominance of women for centuries.

This is just another example of the negative legacy of religion. Would there have been universal equality for women if christianity and islam had never existed? No, I am not naïve enough to believe that. The subjugation of women is a common theme in most ancient cultures throughout the world, regardless of belief system. My particular opinion is that without the influence of these systems of belief however the ancient strictures and biases against the opposite sex would not have survived as long as they have, and the journey toward equality would not have been as painful and halting as it has been, and remains to be to this very day.


Posted on October 15, 2012, in Editorial and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I enjoy, lead to I discovered exactly what I used to be looking for.
    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a nice day. Bye

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