Based on the theory of the social construction of gender, which argues that gender is constantly created and recreated out of human interaction and social life (West & Zimmerman 1987; Lorber 1994) and also that women are not born but rather made (Beauvoir 1949), this paper examines the socialisation process among females in the Muslim community to explore the interlinked gender elements that are in play. The paper is, therefore, against the notion that posits a biological explanation of sex differences as the root cause of the unequal relationship between males and females. There is heterogeneity among Muslims of Nepal, based on geographical position and arrival history, which has been explored by scholars (Seddon  2017; Sijapati 2011; Upadhyay 2014). The study internalises the heterogeneity among Muslims and focuses on the Tarai Muslims with its study location in Kalaiya, Bara.

Moreover, the paper draws its findings from the author’s research work conducted in 2020 while completing an MA-level dissertation in sociology. The study attempts to answer the question: How does the socialisation process guided by beliefs, myths, and practices in the Muslim community contribute to gender construction? The study is qualitative in nature, where the primary data was collected from interviews of the participants selected by purposive sampling. This includes in-depth interviews of 30 Muslim parents and key informant interviews with five interviewees from each category of informants: religious scholars and Muslim girls enrolled in school. The research findings suggest that the socialisation process in the Muslim community is loaded with several local and religious beliefs that are responsible for gender construction. The religious belief assigning binary roles for males and females in Muslims has resulted in different parenting approaches between male children and female children. The belief allocating differential space based on sex–the public sphere for males and private spheres for females–has resulted in questioning and discontinuing females’ higher education attainment. In addition, socialisation as a female child involved learning and training in indoor work from the mother since her childhood, leading to earlier marriages for females than males. Similarly, the religious practice of purdah and its essence among Muslim parents have also affected the way of treating male and female children. The females are tagged as ‘family prestige,’ and they are taught to dress appropriately and avoid the public sphere, which restricts their public engagement and limits their all-round development. The practice of dowry among Muslims has also made the socialisation of female children different from that of male children. Due to the prevalence of this practice, females are treated as ‘other house’s property,’ and family refuses to invest in education for daughters in the way they do for sons. This has resulted in a preference for private English boarding schools for sons while the daughter’s education is limited to the nearby government schools.

Keywords: Social Construction of Gender; Socialization Process; Muslim Community; Heterogeneity; Religious Practices