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Women in Parliament: Islamists in Tunisia Field More Women as Candidates than the Percentage of Women in the US Congress

TUNISIA_Women_Parliament

Tunisian Parliament--Nov 23, 2011

Whenever a Western power wants to invade and or bomb a Muslim nation one invariably hears about how the “women are oppressed in ________(insert Muslim nation of choice)” and “we must liberate them from the clutches of those evil, backward, misogynistic Muslim men.” That is one of the reasons we’ve termed the bombing, invasion and occupation of Muslim lands, the Greater Islamophobia.

Interestingly, when one analyzes say…the number of women in positions of power in countries across the world, we see the percentages of women in parliament to be higher in many majority Muslim nations than in parts of the West. [These statistics also buttress the fact that more Muslim nations have had female leaders, (Presidents, Prime Ministers) than the USA!]

Below we have a list of countries whose percentages of women in parliament is higher than the USA, which ranks a dismal 71st.

*Afghanistan (I have added an asterisk here because this nation is under foreign occupation and the results for many are not considered legitimate. However it is still interesting that Afghanis, some of the most vilified people in the world today when it comes to views of women vote for them at a higher percentage than Americans.)

Rank Country Lower or single House Upper House or Senate
Elections Seats* Women % W Elections Seats* Women % W
30 Afghanistan 9 2010 249 69 27.7% 1 2011 102 28 27.5%

Tunisia is not a surprise to many who know the country, but lets put these numbers into perspective. The Islamist party Ennahda won elections, they are known as “moderates,” but within the media, especially the Right we see an effort to translate Ennahda’s victory into a harbinger for the repression of women’s rights and other usual hoopla associated with Right-wing anti-Islam rhetoric. As the Angry Arab, As’ad Abu Khalil remarks, “I just figured that Tunisian Islamists fielded more women as candidates than the percentage of women in the US Congress.”

32 Tunisia 10 2011 217 57 26.3%

*Iraq

36 Iraq 3 2010 325 82 25.2%

Sudan

37 Sudan 4 2010 346 87 25.1% 5 2010 28 5 17.9%

Kyrgyzstan

45 Kyrgyzstan 10 2010 120 28 23.3%

Senegal

46 Senegal 6 2007 150 34 22.7% 8 2007 100 40 40.0%

Pakistan

47 Pakistan 2 2008 342 76 22.2% 3 2009 100 17 17.0%

Mauritania

48 Mauritania 11 2006 95 21 22.1% 11 2009 56 8 14.3%

Uzbekistan

49 Uzbekistan 12 2009 150 33 22.0% 1 2010 100 15 15.0%

Tajikistan

60 Tajikistan 2 2010 63 12 19.0% 3 2010 34 5 14.7%

Bangladesh

63 Bangladesh 12 2008 345 64 18.6%

Indonesia

65 Indonesia 4 2009 560 101 18.0%

Kazakhstan

66 Kazakhstan 8 2007 107 19 17.8% 8 2011 47 ? ?

United Arab Emirates

67 United Arab Emirates 9 2011 40 7 17.5%

All of the above nations did better than the USA.

Here are two Western nations who you’d think would have done better in the numbers and who wax eloquent about “women’s rights,” even using it as a pretext to bomb and invade nations:

61 France 6 2007 577 109 18.9% 9 2011 348 77 22.1%
71 United States of America 2 11 2010 434 73 16.8% 11 2010 100 17 17.0%

Of course some of the above Muslim nations still have low percentages, however my purpose here is not to draw conclusions but to add to the empirical evidence when it comes to the discussion of women, women’s role in Muslim societies and women’s rights.

As the battle over birth control, invasive procedures before abortion, etc. rages on in the USA, the above stats provide a healthy if sobering perspective to the belligerent discussion in the looniverse about Muslim women.

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  • Steve

    So Israel is jewish land?

  • mindy1
  • Believing Atheist

    @Steve,

    Yes. For instance, Israel is declared to be a Jewish State.

    “It proclaims the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, named “the State of Israel.””
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/decind.html

  • Steve

    “What defines “Muslim Lands?” A country where the majority of people are Muslims”

    So there are christian, jewish and muslim lands?

  • @Steve

    What defines “Muslim Lands?” A country where the majority of people are Muslims.

  • Steve

    What defines “muslim lands”?

  • Franczeska

    “Steve” = Barry Sommer

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  • khushboo

    well, let’s see…if there’s only one school but I’m forced to wear a bikini there and if I don’t I would be locked up in a cell where there’s an unhealthy environment, I would still not wear a bikini even if I looked gorgeous in it. So yeah chastity would win.

  • Pingback: What clothing stays on – who decides? « Musings of a Muslim Pakistani American Mom in Riyadh()

  • Steve

    “Let me ask women (whether Muslims or Non-Muslims), what are they going to chose if they are given choice between education,health and Chastity? Every sound woman will chose the later at best.”

    Do you seriously believe that?

    Ask the same question of men.

  • Measuring women rights based on cloth they wear is idiotic. Fact is that Muslim society would inevitable have laws promoting or facilitating clothes that abide by their religion. While western countries would have laws that abide by their own religion whether their religion is democracy or henotheism or whatever.

    A Muslim somehow supporting bikini rights is a oxymoron.

    From a Islamic view, the atmost “liberalism” allowed as far as I see is that we can allow non-Muslims to have their own personal laws whether its clothing or whatever. But that shouldn’t be confused with promoting or faciltating Muslims themselves to live contridictory to their religion.

  • @Deccal

    Maybe, but a majority of the populations of those nations are Muslims are they not, much the same way a majority of the American Population are Christians, are they not? Maybe it would be better to call them majority Muslim nations, but these numbers still go against the negative stereotype of Muslim men as misogynists with no respect for women.

  • deccal

    Calling Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan “Muslim Nations” is as absurd as calling the United States a “Christian Nation”, all of the former are hardcore secular states. People below the age of 18 are not allowed in mosques in Tajikistan, and in Kazakhstan, hijab is banned from public places. Similar punitive measures are also taken in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, where Islamists have been suppressed by the government.

  • khushboo

    You’re right BA. Those are the only options.

  • Believing Atheist

    Banning attire/ religious symbolism in France and Belgium, while it may be despicable is not a violation of the law. If Muslims don’t like their conditions in France/Belgium, then they have three options available to them: (1). Put pressure on the government to change the law in their favor as African-Americans did in the Civil Rights Movement in America. (2). Persuade the public through education so that the French/Belgian Legislators can overturn the law. (3). Or sadly abide by the law.

    If Muslims in France/Belgium cannot do 1 or 2 they will have to abide by the law if they wish to live in France or Belgium.

    Countries like France are way too out of control with secularism, that they resemble a godless tyranny. France needs to model itself after US secularism. The US has a seperation of church/state and grants individual religious liberty.

    @Garibaldi,

    I said I was going to answer point 2 but I actually answered both 2 and 3. As for point 1 that was simply for my protection, so that commenters don’t jump up on me and yell: “America is not a parliamentary system,(insert ad hominem)” hence I put this distinction between Tunisia and US in parenthesis.

  • Rajesh

    A much more important issue is corruption. We have had female leaders, and female parliamentarians in Asia, and unfortunately they are just as corrupt as their male counterparts. Gender doesn’t matter, honesty, transparency and good governance does.

  • Faisal Rathor

    @HGG,

    /* Preserving “Chastity” (whatever that may mean) is an option. Health and education are, as you say, basic human rights.*/

    Please evidence that preserving chastity is an optional? From Divine scriptures please if you are not atheist. Otherwise, I can’t argue on this matter.

    I do said Health and Education are basic human rights BUT I also said that preserving woman’s Chasity is also the basic right of women? I think you missed my point. What I said it is not only basic right of women but a great religious duty as well in all major divine religions.

    /* Banning a piece of clothing is not oppression, though */

    Do you mean forcing women to cover properly is oppression and forcing women to uncover themselves is freedom (not oppression)?

  • HGG

    “Oppression is using authority in unjust manner so yeah banning clothing IS oppression.”

    In the same manner a paper cut can be considered a “wound”, only.

  • khushboo

    “Banning a piece of clothing is not oppression, though.”

    Oppression is using authority in unjust manner so yeah banning clothing IS oppression.

  • HGG

    “As amazing as it may be to believe, no, health and education are pointless with oppression of liberty.”

    Agreed. And in fact, health and education flow from liberty.

    Banning a piece of clothing is not oppression, though.

    “Things like health and education are not only important but basic rights of every one whether men or women but preserving chastity becomes more important than above.”

    Preserving “Chastity” (whatever that may mean) is an option. Health and education are, as you say, basic human rights.

  • Faisal Rathor

    @HGG,

    Things like health and education are not only important but basic rights of every one whether men or women but preserving chastity becomes more important than above.

    Preserving chastity is not only the basic right of women but a great religious duty as well whether they belongs to Judaism, Christianity, or Islam.

    Let me ask women (whether Muslims or Non-Muslims), what are they going to chose if they are given choice between education,health and Chastity? Every sound woman will chose the later at best. This question is just to know what is more important thought all these things have their own importance.

  • MASK
  • Géji

    > “As amazing as it may be to believe, yes, thing like health and education are far more important than a piece of clothing women may or may have the liberty to wear.”

    As amazing as it may be to believe, no, health and education are pointless with oppression of liberty.

  • Unfortunately Salafis in Tunisia are busy slapping women who wear skirts or trousers so if the Salafis take over (Ennahda isn’t a Salafi and he’s extremely embarassed over their antics) and would love to change all the gains on women as candidates with their archaic ways: http://www.muslimsdebate.com/n.php?nid=6190

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