Relative Status of Men and Women

In principle, men are the authorities over every aspect of life. Even in their own compounds, women are supposed to defer to men and offer them unquestioning obedience. The husband controls all the family resources, and ideally his wife should donate her mahar to him as well. Nonetheless, women can have considerable influence over men as behind-the-scenes advisors and instigators, and a wise man confers with his wife about household expenditures and other matters of mutual interest. Eventually, successful postmenopausal women can even gain some of the public deference due to men.

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