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Other couples have issues concerning women’s working outside the home, which, although not “prohibited” by the husband (or religion), is also not encouraged.
Interestingly, though, women’s perceptions on this matter are not of male chauvinism but rather the opposite, as they compare it with past experiences in their western Latin-American cultures of origin.
It is a known fact that Islam allows men to have multiple wives (up to four) as long as he could provide them all with the same goods and comforts, and that it is up to each country to either legalize or prohibit it.
As Egyptian law does not forbid it, and unless there is an agreement on both sides made legal by a monogamy clause, the possibility of having to share a husband is always a present threat to these women.
As Myriam clearly states, “It is not machismo, it’s a sense of responsibility.
He’s very considerate to me, he says that is enough with the work I do at home … People only see the usual topic that Muslim men don’t allow their wives to work, but the thing is, dealing with a house and three small children I already work! How is it that, in our cultures, we women are the ones who have to work outside and inside our home?
This is particularly apparent in the cases where they have previous familial or personal income, or a part-time/at-home job, as they are freed from economic responsibility for their households and children, and therefore have the liberty to use their own money as they please.
As Estela says, Evidently, not all women have the possibility to work or have their own previous savings or possessions, but even in those cases it is possible to recognize the use of strategies to guarantee some margin of financial independence.
If polygamy guarantees the rights of women and children, men aren’t going to have adventures, because there aren’t many prostitutes or easy-ones [women] around.Among those, there is asking for more money than she would actually spend on home purchases and then saving the rest, lovingly forcing the husband to get her luxury items that she could buy herself, or charging the husband with extra loads that would free her from spending her own money, like her own family’s regular or incidental needs.Another area where Islamic and western values usually collide is in the legally – and culturally-legitimized – practice of polygamy.Like any major change, things can get quite challenging at the beginning, especially with language, family and/or money issues.However, they claim to have satisfactory and happy marriages, despite the cultural differences that may give rise to potential conflict.
In this respect, Estela’s opinion condenses a general feeling expressed by most of these women: “In Latin America men can only have one legal wife but many have a lot of women, and they usually don’t assume their responsibility for women or children.