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Kelly, Elinor (1972) Women's chance for power in two Sudanese nomadic tribes. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Observers have frequently commented on the high degree of sexual differentiation that prevails in Islamic societies; particularly, they have been at pains to point out how this differentiation amounts to discrimination against women as a category. Generally, the argument runs, women have no legal or political, rights, they remain the legal and economic dependents of men, cannot accede to any political office, participate to a very limited extent in any form of public life, and have no role in the processes of decision-making. It is essential, however, to take account of how women are differentiated among themselves, within the female sex category, and to assess whether this differentiation alters their social position in any way. Women are differentiated according to their relative rank, status, and prestige, and also by their relative power and ability to influence policy. The most noticeable differentiation, which applies in all social situations, is between the women of different age and marital statuses. The matrons, with children of marriageable age, have established domestic positions, and are frequently consulted about important decisions that are taken. They cannot, therefore, be equated with the young, unmarried girls, who have no right of choice in their first marriage, and who are subject to the authority not only of men, but also of older women. In comparing the roles of women in different social situations, it is useful to analyse in terms of the relative chances for power of the matrons. It then becomes clear that, where women are members of households that are part of corporate groupings, they can, by the time of their matronhood, achieve positions of public significance and of great influence in the decisions that men take. Clearly, men must take account of the opinions of women in such a situation.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 14:59

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