Since the beginning of time women have been subject of discrimination. The natural physiological phenomenon of menstruation has always been the source of cultural taboos and popular beliefs. A few centuries ago, a woman who was having her period was considered unclean, unworthy of being touched, or even approached, by a rabbi.
Guess what, some countries still practice those abusive laws against women.
In this article, you will discover 40 ordinary things that are prohibited to women from all over the world, including the United States.
- Canoe or sit on a chair, Polynesia
This prohibition is rooted in a religious belief. According to the rites, during their menstruation, Polynesian women should not pass over a structure or someone’s head. Nor could they sit next to a man or be on the porch of a house if a child was also there. Otherwise, the object or person was contaminated.
- Mount Athos in Greece
Mount Athos and its access are forbidden to women. In order not to give in to temptation the 3,000 monks who took a vow of abstinence, the only way out was obviously to banish women from this sacred place. Solution to get in? Disguise yourself as a man. Yes, trickery is allowed and even recognized.
- Go public without a hijab, Islamic countries
In certain countries such as Iran and Somali, Women who do not wear hijab, a form of veil, or are not accompanied by a mahram are whipped, beaten, insulted, sometimes killed.
In 2014, a Somali woman was killed for not wearing veil. In 2019, an Iranian woman was beaten to death in front of a mass for dancing in public and not wearing a hijab.
- Mount Omine, Japan
This mount is another place of worship … “No woman allowed”, these are the three words that can be read on a sign at the foot of Mount Omine. The religious authorities considered that women were too much of a distraction for the monks in full meditation.
The sacred mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has long seen its nomination criticized for this gender-based discrimination.
- Football stadiums in Ira
Being a woman and loving football in Iran don’t mix! For many years, women have been banned from playing football in the country, and any other sport by the way. The reason? Women are banned so that they do not hear the cries and insults uttered by these gentlemen in the stands.
- Bethesda Golf Club, USA
You wouldn’t expect golf to be among the places around the world that are off-limits to women, let alone in USA! And yet… The very select Burning Tree Club in Bethesda, Maryland, is an “all-male golf club”! And for good reason, no woman is allowed on the green! Even the staff are exclusively male!
- The Beaches of Itsandra Mlimadji, in the Comoros
Are you a woman dreaming of a getaway to Itsandra Mlimadji beaches, contemplating their crystal-clear water and fine sand? Well, you need to think again. Access to women is strictly prohibited there, again under religious pretext.
The religious authorities of the Comoros have decided not to disturb the serenity of these gentlemen!
- Therme Erding water park, Germany
First and foremost, it is important to point out that this is only one attraction in the park that is closed to women. And this time, their excuse is based on love and concern from women, the authorities claim. This is a slide that takes you to a speed of 75km / h! Fun, eh? Except that some women would have been victims of intimate injuries during their descent … So, yes, the law is to protect women.
- Adultery, Islamic countries
Women accused of adultery or extra marital sex are humiliated in public, while the man can have multiple women as they please. Many of them were stoned to death.
In 2015, a video was released online showing a 19-year-old woman in the central province of Ghor being stoned to death for alleged adultery. The two-minute clip shows a group of Islamic men throwing rocks at a covered woman who is lying in a hole dug in the ground. A crowd of spectators can be heard shouting “Hit her!” and “Allahu Akbar!”
The woman’s cries and screams can be heard, but no one intervene to rescue her.
- Kafenio, in Greece
In places around the world that are forbidden to women, we find the Kafenios! These are small male dominated areas in Greece where men meet to play cards and drink! For a long time, the Kafenios were exclusively reserved for men. But now they are letting more and more women in.
- Kartikeya temple, India
It was in Pushkar, India, that this temple was erected in honor of the Hindu deity Kartikeya. Legend has it that any woman who tried to enter the temple would suffer the wrath of the deity and be cursed forever! The temple is therefore forbidden to women. Well at least, as a precaution, they do not prefer to enter!
- Picking mushrooms, France
In 1846, the catacombs of Paris were partly dedicated to the cultivation of mushrooms. This was strictly forbidden to women, whose menstrual periods could “turn and rot the plantations”.
- Wash or throw sanitary towels in the trash, Bolivia
The beliefs around periods continue to discourage poor Bolivian women. Even today, in Bolivia, young women who have their period are not allowed to bath and wash hair elves or throw their sanitary napkins in the trash. The reason? The fear of contracting diseases, including cancer.
They were also not allowed to participate in religious activities or to contact religious articles. But these prohibitions are more in the rural areas than in the urban areas. There is still a long way to go.
- Entering sports stadiums, Iran
Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, women have been banned from attending sporting events in Iran. This ban is part of a much larger cultural taboo concerning the proximity between unmarried men and women.
A page of history was written in 2018, when female soccer fans were allowed to enter Azadi Stadium in Tehran to watch a screening of the Iran-Spain side for the FIFA World Cup. The ban is still in place today, although many hoped it would be lifted as a result of the event.
- Stay and sleep at home, Nepal
In some remote areas of Nepal, an ancestral rite forbids women to stay in their own homes while they are menstruating. They must go into exile in an isolated hut to avoid “infecting” their relatives.
- Fight on the front line
Most of the world’s military units include women, but only a few allow them to serve in combat. Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States are among the countries that have lifted restrictions on the role of women in the fighting.
Ironically, some countries still practice the law.
- Talk to men, Malawi
An ancestral rite followed by many families in Malawi. Aunts of young girls forbid them to talk to boys of their age when they have their period.
- Share a motorbike, Indonesia
In 2015, Aceh, an Indonesian province, passed a law to prohibit unmarried women from sitting behind a man on a motorcycle. Aceh is the only province in Indonesia to follow Sharia (Islamic law). It also passed laws requiring schools to educate boys and girls separately.
Also, since 2018, women are no longer allowed to eat with men, unless they are married or from the same family.
- Enter places of worship, India
In several temples and mosques in India, women are refused entry. Although the country’s Supreme Court has condemned the practice, it is still widespread, as women are perceived to be “unclean” when they are menstruating.
- Study mining engineering, China
According to Shu Jisen, a professor at the Chinese University of Mining and Technology in Jiangsu, China, women are not allowed to apply for mining engineering courses. “Some jobs are not at all suitable for women,” Professor Shu argues, expressing concerns about safety.
In case you did not know, this is the same China that murdered up to 60 million “innocent girls” thanks to a combination of preference for sons and the cruel one-child policy.
- Touch cattle or using a running water source, Nepal
A Hindu ritual now banned by the Nepalese government continues to prohibit women in menstruation from using public water sources. They would bring bad luck if they were to touch cattle, or even people.
- Eat milk or honey, Bolivia
Bolivia does not laugh with the rules. Foods such as milk or honey are prohibited for women who are menstruating. They should not walk or play either. A real social problem.
- Public works
In Afghanistan, women are prohibited from working outside their homes, including teachers, engineers and most professions. Only a few female doctors and nurses are allowed to work in a few hospitals in Kabul.
- Social activities
There is also a total ban on women’s activity outside their homes if they are not accompanied by a mahram (male relative).
- Go to certain schools
In some countries dominated by Taliban, it is also forbidden to women to go to school, university or any other educational organization. The Taliban converted girls’ schools into seminaries.
- The Sabarimala temple in India
In the ranking of places around the world that are forbidden to women: the Sabarimala temple, in India, is in the top list. It is one of the most important places of worship in the world. And yet, women aged between 10 and 50 are prohibited.
Why will you tell me? Because they are considered “dirty” during menstruation! Women are also considered too much of a distraction for these spiritually weak gentlemen …
- Showing Ankles, Afghanistan
Women whose ankles can be seen are whipped in public. If a woman refuses the humiliation more server sentences will be imposed.
- Printing photos of women, Afghanistan
There is also a ban on printing photos of women in newspapers and books or hanging them on the walls of houses or shops.
- Wearing heels, Afghanistan
If you are a western woman, I am sure you are in disbelief now. Yes, it is banned for women to wear heels, so as not to make noise while walking. You may wonder why? A man should not hear a woman’s footsteps.
- Public transportation with men, Afghanistan
In Afghanistan there is a separation of men and women in public transport. The buses are marked “reserved for men” or “only for women”.
It also prohibits in Afghanistan and some other Islamic countries for women to:
- bathe in public
- Make up, including nail color
- deal with male merchants
- travel by taxi without a mahram
- seek treatment from a male doctor
- wash their clothes near rivers or in public.
- have their clothes’ measurement taken by male taylor
- speak or shake hands with men other than the mahram
- appear on the balcony of their house or apartment
- Celebrate the traditional New Year (Nowroz) on March 21, which has been proclaimed a non-Islamic holiday.