Exotic tales and dramatic details about Muslim women's views of Bosnian society are uncommon. In fact, few Muslim women in Bosnia are overtly Islamic in appearance or action. Rather, they blend into a secularized society in which Islamic heritage provides traditions and values, not dogma. Despite this assimilation, 12 Bosnian women relate 3 different but connected features of their lives: the effect on sex roles of the political turmoil of the past century, the particular perspective women bring to questions of war and peace, and the rich prewar multiculturalism. Their overarching consensus is that women in Bosnia are equipped for leadership but stifled by an erosion of their status in society. During the communist period, women gained a greater level of freedom and became independent thinkers, even though the communists didn't allow them to exercise the leadership they'd assumed during World War II. With the demise of communism in the late 1980s and the chaos of all-out war in the early 1990s, women were preoccupied with survival. Cultural tolerance emerged as a unifying factor for Bosnian women of different tradition, education, and socioeconomic status, although this was obscured by the outside misconception that the war was caused by ‘age-old hatreds’. On the contrary, religion not only was far from a central identity, but, according to many Bosnian women, it simply did not matter. Yes, they were victims of a ruthless genocide; but Muslim women in Bosnia are also energetic, determined, smart, and savvy.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 19, 2004
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