Women's Issues and Multiculturalism Essay

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Women's Issues and Multiculturalism

ABSTRACT: In part one of this paper, I offer a description of the main versions of multiculturalism, with its liberal interpretation among them. In part two, I give an outline of the changes that have taken place in women's social status in the course of history and of the various stages of their emancipation process. In the third part I examine the relationship between multiculturalism and women's issues in general. Finally, I explore the same in Hungary, and attempt to draw some general consequences. Does a minority group (e.g., Gypsies in Hungary) in a multicultural society have the right to maintain their traditional patriarchal culture? I argue that the liberation of women is not a "women's
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Even though their cultures were different from one another, all these peoples shared in the same Christian culture; the non-Christian exceptions among them were the Jews and the Gypsies-the latter having been formally Christian. The traditional societies in Christian Europe were patriarchal in character, which basically defined the status of women. Furthermore, the social communities in the case of non-Christian ethnic groups and/or those who arrived at a different stage of civilisation (Jews and Gypsies) were also male-centred, and when compared to the Europeans, the patriarchalism of these ethnic groups was of an even more archaic and rigid type. In his essays David Hume distinguished three historical forms of male dominance-barbarism in Asia, small-mindedness in the Antiquity, and courtship in the Modern Age in order to dominate through complaisance.

In modern societies, a new version of multiculturalism has evolved, which results from a break predominantly through immigration in a largely homogeneous society. In the first phase of the process, the immigrants mainly seek to be assimilated; in the second, they generally do not wish to be absorbed in the majority ethnic communities. On the contrary, they endeavor to preserve their language, traditions and identity and wish to be recognized as a minority, their culture to be maintained and supported as such (see Latin Americans in the US, Africans in Britain, Turks in

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