Many people are aware of the fact that in Islam daughters inherit half of what their brothers get. This is often cited as evidence for the lack of equality Islam offers between men and women. The common rationlisation presented by muslims is that since in Islam men are financially responsible for women and that a womans wealth is her own, not to be shared with family unless she particularly wants to, it would be unfair not to give men a bit more either as incentive to respect their obligations or as help towards their duties.
The way I see it, is muslim arab women expect to be looked after fincancially when they get married, and is an expectation that is honored by the muslim arab men that they marry. I have never come across a case where a woman is the main bread winner of the muslim-arab family, on rare occasions they do contribute to the household finances but often they don’t. If women are not married, in theory they should expect their brothers or other male relatives to look after them, and even though this is the common case, it is not fail safe. However, if she works she can look after herself, and only herself, so again, why would she need as much as the brothers?
Another way to look at it. As far as I know british law does not oblige people to leave anything to their children or relatives, and people can leave their money to their pet. Islamic law on the other hand obliges people to leave the major chunk of their wealth to relatives, and allows them to will away a third of their finances as they wish. So, in theory a person can arrange their will so that their daughters get the same as their sons. The prescribed will is just the basic will that every muslim has, whether or not they can be bothered to write one in their lives. So in theory Islam protects th right of women to inherit better than british law does.
A worked Example:
Persons total wealth=W
Decides to leave a third to the daughter=D1=W/3
From the remaining two thirds the son gets twice the daughter: Son=2xD2, therefore the daughter gets:
D2=2W/9 and the Son gets:
In total the daughter gets:
D=D1+D2=W/3+2W/9=5W/9 which is greater than the son’s inheritance.
Using numbers for illustration:
So as far as I know its up to the parent to decide whether the daughter gets more or less than the son.