There are many prevailing perceptions of Islam, most notably that women are not equal to men. The women of the Tuareg Islamic Tribe in North Africa, however, lead lives that are quite liberal in comparison to most Muslim societies. Indeed, some of the liberties these women enjoy may seem eye-raising, even by Western standards.
1. Women are the Core of their Civilization
The Tuareg people believe their female ancestors are the founders of their traditions.
2. Virginity is Not Required for Marriage
Female chastity is not a requirement for marriage. In fact, teen-age women are encouraged to have any number of suitors visit them at night. As long as these visits happen in her tent, at night, no one questions what happens inside.
3. Boyfriends are encouraged
The Tuareg girl may have as many boyfriends as she pleases until she is married which doesn’t happen until she is about 20 years old.
4. Yes, women can have male friends
Even married Tuareg women are permitted to have close platonic male friendships.
5. Women head up familial spaces
In rural communities, families live in compounds named for the married woman who owns the tent.
6. Veils are for men
Men wear veils to cover their faces, women do not.
7. Women maintain rights to their property
Upon marriage women are granted a dowry, usually a tent and some animals. Should she divorce, the woman retains all rights to her property.
8. Divorce is not taboo.
Women may begin divorce proceedings. Upon divorce, families often throw the newly divorced woman a celebration to announce her freedom and availability to take new suitors.
What do you think about the liberties afforded to Tuareg Women?