12 Women Who Migrated From Socially Conservative Countries to Progressive Ones Talk About How Their Lives Have Changed

It’s no secret that women in some parts of the world have to deal with serious oppression.

But what happens when those women decide to start a new life elsewhere?

This promises to be very interesting!

How did your life change when you moved from a socially conservative country to a progressive one?

Here’s what women had to say on AskReddit.

1. Liberating.

“Originally Sri Lankan but grew up in Bangladesh and moved to Canada when I was 17. It was so f**king liberating.

I could finally walk around without being stared at by random men on the street, wear shorts/tank tops in the summer, not have to hear people gossip or slut-shame people, and I got to learn more about other religions and widen my once narrow views on the world.”

2. Game-changer.

“Growing up in Jerusalem I do think that there, you put more importance to what your society or surroundings perceive of you.

When I moved to Germany, I was able to live my life mentally-free from wondering what my surroundings will perceive of me.

It’s a total game changer for personal development.”

3. Rights.

“Just more rights.

Like, if I was pi**ed with the way I was treated at work..theres a number for that. And the fact that you call that number and the person on the other line actually helps you..wow. mind blown! The fact that i am able to speak about how Im not in a good place mentally and be able to see someone who can help with that. That is a big deal.

My absolute favourite is up until I started seeing the rest of the world, when someone told me they were poor, that usually meant they lived under a bridge in a card board box. However here, you hear people say they are poor, and live off state benefits and have take away menu plastered all over the fridge in their council home.”

4. To the UK.

“Moved to the UK from Iran when I was 10. I was a kid but the differences are noticeable. Just the fact that I can wear what I want, I can live freely as a bis**ual, I can voice my opinions without the fear of arrest etc.

I come from a family who has really been affected by the political situation (won’t go into more detail for privacy reasons) and there is not a day I don’t feel lucky that I’m somewhere I don’t have to worry about being arrested.”

5. Be yourself.

“The noise stopped. And by Noise, I’m referring to :

  1. Constant comments about my appearance.

  2. Sticking their noses in my business.

  3. S**ual harassment.

  4. Verbal bu**ying.

  5. Shouting.

  6. Old school Patriarchal expectations of women, and constantly being pressured to get married and have kids.

It’s nice to finaly live in a country where I can be my self, and where the noise stops.”

6. The Philippines.

“The Philippines.

There seem to be plenty of things that people are only against because of societal pressures, not because they actually believe in the moral/ethical arguments against it. Clothing, gender roles, etc. Cohabitation before marriage was a big one for me – it’s still often viewed as a scandal except among elites who can do whatever tf they want.

My mom was among those fully against it and we had a few heated arguments, but several years after I left, I eventually moved in with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, she didn’t even flinch – she was actually happy about the financial advantages even (she hadn’t met him yet).

I wondered if it was just because she didn’t want to push me away, but 7 years later it’s never come up as something that’s bothered her. I guess she never really cared about it as much as she led me to believe.”

7. A different POV.

“My answer is a little bit different than the other ones I’ve read on here. I moved from the US (Alabama) to Germany 5 years ago.

I was pleasantly surprised about how nudity isn’t a big deal here and there’s less s**ualising and body shaming (not saying it doesn’t exist, but it’s not as prevalent). Breastfeeding isn’t s**ualized and shamed.

Little kids run around and swim naked at the local public lake without anyone batting an eye and making it weird. Bigger women don’t feel the need to wear long shirts or shorts over their swimsuits. People are naked in front of others in the shower rooms of pools and in saunas without it being a big deal. Plus, I have never been catcalled here.

Also, on a s**ual note…seeing vibrators openly displayed in drugstores or shop windows was refreshing since it wasn’t hidden or shamed.

Very different way of thinking regarding the human body. Germany for sure has its faults, but it was liberating to be around this kind of thinking.”

8. The Big Apple.

“When I relocated to NYC from India, I was afraid of getting onto crowded subways due to fear of getting groped or touched inappropriately. I slowly realised that wasn’t the case and so it really has been super liberating.

From the comments I have noticed that the freedom to wear whatever you want is the number one change from a lot of women and I find it so sad that I also underwent that same emotional roller coaster after coming to America. Also, f**k patriarchy.”

9. Still mad.

“I wore a really cute MINI dress in PUBLIC and went to a party at “NIGHT” (7pm lol) and took the BUS for the first time ever, with a MALE friend and we ate PEPPERONI pizza there. All in my first week of moving there :DDDD

I started dressing the way I wanted to. I came out of the closet. Went to therapy without fearing what my family would think of me for being mentally ill aha ha. The list goes on.

I don’t know why but my experience here made me extremely salty rather than happy. I ended up hating my country and the people with a passion for a few years.

Eventually, I accepted that it’s not (some of) the people’s fault for trying to protect me. Still mad though.”

10. Freedom.

“I haven’t seen this mentioned yet but,,, actually being able to raise my voice and talk and laugh loudly in public.

I can call out my friend’s name to get her attention if I see her on the street, and If they’re too far I don’t have to speak in gestures and codes to make sure no one’s bothered by my voice! Since I loved to France two years ago, I have never been told to lower my voice or not speak about certain things.

Back home I’d get looks if I spoke in a normal tone instead of the usual hushed one women use, it felt so freeing!”

11. Much happier.

“I come from the Philippines and moved to the UK. The amount of freedom you have and happiness is non comparable when compared back home:

Wearing revealing clothes and bikinis are normal in the UK and would be met with gossips and disgusting comments in the Philippines.

S** education is better and the NHS does not judge you compared to PH doctors who will judge you having s** before marriage while they help you for being a “slag”. You can easily get contraceptives in shops or with your GPs and even emergency pills without having to go to an Non profit organisation for women just to have your Depo shot.

I came from a religious Catholic family and women are expected to be celibate until after marriage. Being with any male (even a male cousin) would automatically assume that I might be having s** with them (like wtf?) Compared to the UK where you can have both genders as friends and doesn’t matter much. I’m now an Atheist.

My friend’s family is part of Iglesias. Biggest religion group in the PH where you have to weekly send in money yo church or you’ll be shamed. My friend cannot tell their parents that they are gay in fear of being kicked out in the family and their church shaming and cutting them off. The leaders use them for building huge fancy churches and buying mansions and cars. They can also control votes. In here, that would be considered a cult.

In the Philippines, women are considered property of men. When I was doing my paperworks. I somehow got picked on by a group of men and told me “Oh are you going abroad? Don’t get any husband from there okay? You’re a Filipina you belong to a Filipino man not to a foreigner.” Needless to say, I’m now married to a UK citizen and don’t belong to anyone but myself.

Domestic abuse is not talked very much compared to here. I see so many help for abused women and children in here. In the Philippines, a woman would be blamed or shamed if they leave their abusive husbands.

I’m much happier and more confident with my body here compared to when I was back home.”

12. Mom’s story.

“Not me, but my mom.

She was born and raised in Turkey (not the most conservative in the Middle East – in fact probably one of the most liberal, but still very different from the U.S.), came to the U.S. for her masters, met my dad here, and has been a citizen for over 2 decades now.

I’ve heard stories of how my grandmother wasn’t allowed to work (in Turkey women at the time needed legal permission from their husband/father to work), because my grandfather thought women were incapable of thinking for 1 week a month.

My mom was accused of holding hands with a guy friend by an uncle, which spurred lots of family drama (which wasn’t even true). When my mom told her parents she wasn’t Muslim, they didn’t believe her, and the topic has never come up since.

Just recently, I had an injury from a minor MVA, and my grandmother told my mom to circle salt on my head 3 times, and was disappointed when my mom said she did not memorize a specific prayer (to help heal me) from the Qur’an.

She always described how when she came off of her flight, stepping foot in the U.S. for the first time, she felt like she was finally home. She can do what she wants, say what she truly believes (without public and family shame), and has gotten comfortable telling off people who deserve it. She recently told me that after my grandmother passes, she never wants to go back.

It’s also weird, because Turkey was a lot more liberal/relaxed/western-like when she was growing up, compared to now. President Erdogan is undoing a lot of work Turkey’s founder, Atatürk (kinda like the Turkish George Washington), fought so hard for. She feels like she doesn’t even recognize it.”

Do you know anyone who’s had experiences like this?

Or maybe that person is you?

If so, please share your stories with us in the comments. Thanks!