Revival of Hijab
As the century progressed, a revival of veiling and introduction of more modest dress reasserted itself. Opposition to Islamic required clothing had never been truly universal. Among the lower middle classes it had always tended to be defended in the face of change. Even in Turkey where the state had pushed the idea of reform, new ideas and styles of dress did not reach women in the hinterland.
In areas where Islam was resisted and believers felt threatened, like Indonesia and the Philippines, Muslim women began to dress more conservatively as a way to assert who they were. During militant struggles for independence, such as that against the French in Algeria or the British in Egypt, some women purposely kept the veil in defiance of western styles. It meant they also could take part in veiled and silent demonstrations, or could hide weapons under long robes.
There were other reasons for taking up and defending hijab. One was the growing reaffirmation of nation identity and rejection of values and styles seen as western. In response to Egypt's catastrophic loss to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War, and the seeming failure of secularism, there also was a push to return to Islamic laws which had been abandoned. Modernization was seen as negative, a phenomena which encouraged people to reject not only Islamic but all indigenous traditions. Wearing hijab came to symbolize not the inferiority of the culture in comparison to western ways, but its uniqueness and superiority.
The real surge toward donning hijab came with Iran's revolution. Women were seen as key elements in achieving changes in public morality and private behavior. Unveiled women were mocked, called unchaste "painted dolls," and were punished if they appeared in public without proper covering. In countries beyond Iran in the 1970s, demonstrations and sit-ins appeared over opposition to the required western style dress code for university students and civil servants.
A year later William Blake published the poem Visions of the Daughter’s of Albion, a commentary on the “tyranny of rape and sexual possession”, but also mistreatment of women in a patriarchal society....
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Both Caroline Norton and Kishida Toshiko broke social norms by publicly advocating change not only in the legal status of women, but in the way society viewed their roles. Their concerns illustrate issues from reform periods in the nineteenth century where maneuvering for women's rights within the context of marriage often took precedent over others, including female suffrage. Debates about womens expanded rights within marriage and womens access to education were voiced in many nations which were dealing with new ideas about societal change.
The primary factor behind this is that few people view women in any capacity other than that of mothers or potential mothers, and, under the further influence of out-dated “religious” beliefs, may even treat females in a family as possessions.
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Full suffrage occurs when all groups of women are included in national voting and can run for any political office. In most cases women won the right to vote in uneven stages. New Zealand in 1893 was first. Liberalism was a strong force in this pioneering land which increasingly rejected what it viewed as archaic attitudes from the Old World. The support of social reform issues, including temperance, gave New Zealand suffragists the edge they needed. The now famous Womens Suffrage Petition is credited with being a major force for this success. Signed by close to one quarter of the female adult population, the petition was the largest of its kind in New Zealand and other western countries. It is comprised of 546 sheets of paper, all glued together to form one continuous roll 274 metres long, with the signatures of over 10,000 adult women. A few Maori women signed, but at this time they mainly were concerned with achieving political participation rights for the whole tribe.
When the Quran was revealed in Arabia over 1400 years ago, the women of that time had virtually no interaction in the business community and were unfamiliar with financial transactions; thus, the rationale for the verse.
In Europe, Finland, Norway and Iceland were among the first to grant female suffrage. Most other western governments only extended suffrage to women during or just after WWI, even though womens rights had been widely debated in their societies for many decades.
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However, in modern society, where both women and men are well versed in business and financial matters, and business is becoming a discipline and a specialty, there is no special danger of a woman forgetting or misunderstanding a transaction; therefore, under these circumstances, there is room to question the applicability of this rule.
Pan-Pacific womens networks also became effective advocates of womens political equality, as did those within countries with great regional diversity. As an example, women in India by the end of the nineteenth century were forming their own organizations. The first all-India organization, the Womens Indian Association was established in 1917, and by 1918 was holding gatherings all over India in support of womens franchise.