The status of women is obviously not just an issue with Muslims. It is a cultural issue throughout the world. That was reinforced by, among other things, a Christmas present that my wife received: "My Brilliant Friend" by Elena Ferrante. That is the pseudonym of an extremely successful Italian writer. Although her identity is unknown to the public, she did recently consent to an email interview with a writer for the Financial Times. Here is one of her comments that really struck me:
I grew up in a world where it seemed normal that men (fathers, brothers, boyfriends) had the right to hit you in order to correct you, to teach how to be a woman, ultimately for your own good. Luckily today much as changed but I still think the men who can really be trusted are a minority. Maybe this is because the milieu that shaped me was backward. Or maybe (and this is what I tend to believe) it's because male power, whether violently or delicately imposed, is still bent on subordinating us. Too many women are humiliated every day and not just on a symbolic level. And, in the real world, too many are punished, even with death, for their insubordination.Remember that these kinds of issues among Italian immigrants to New York City (largely coming from southern Italy, keeping in mind that Ferrante is from Naples) were what motivated Margaret Sanger a hundred years ago to find methods of birth control that women could use, so that they didn't have to choose between a beating from their husband or an unwanted pregnancy. It took us a long time in the US and most of Europe to boost the status of women, but these kinds of traditional attitudes hold back progress everywhere we go in the world.