I would like to know what the roles of men and women are.
The roles of men and women are to worship Allah. You can do that as you see fit. There is no law against a woman being the breadwinner, or working. However, in Islam, a woman's money is her own, and she is under no obligation to spend it on the household. It is the man's obligation to spend on all the necessities of his household.
Islam has given women so many rights that were unheard of... a woman can choose whom she marries, has rights to inheritance, her money is her own, and does not belong to her husband, father, or any other male figure, and she is treated as her own person, with her own thoughts, beliefs, and opinions, and this was 1429 years ago!
There are Muslim women scholars, Muslim businesswomen and they are very much respected. To help answer your question further, I've posted an email I sent my prof last year when she posted an article that advocated many misconceptions regarding women in Islam... I also wrote an essay about it for my professor:
I took a look at the Religion and Human Rights Assignment folder and I have to say that I am a bit offended at the subject "Sharia’ and Women's Rights," and not because I'm Muslim, but simply because the articles are just not true.
Sharia’ Law in itself does not violate women's rights. You may be a bit confused as to why I'm saying this, and probably the first thing that happens now is your mind wanders to Saudi Arabia and their treatment of women. I have to say now, that currently, there is no country in today's world that actually applies Sharia’. Some people think that the way supposedly "Muslim" countries govern is in adherence with Islamic Jurisprudence. However, this is not true. Islamic Jurisprudence are laws which are not only set in the Quran, but laws that the Prophet (peace be upon him) enforced. These two criteria must be met for something to be considered as Islamic Jurisprudence. The reason why we also follow the Prophet's example is because if we didn't, corrupt leaders would interpret the Quran as they see fit in order to justify their own agenda. In issues which involve no precedence by the Prophet (example: technology, etc.) The opinion of the majority of scholars is taken as law, and they must show proof of why their opinion is valid.
That being said, all of the examples in the articles are falsely attributed to Sharia’. For instance, article one gives the example of a woman who died and left behind her nine-year-old daughter and abusive husband, and how the family feared for the daughter. Of course, abuse is not tolerated in Islam, just like it is not tolerated in any other religion. The ruling of this is available at this link.
The article also mentions the story of a woman who had to give all her money to her husband and "had to beg him for money to buy a cup of coffee." This is absolutely absurd since under Sharia’ it states that a woman's money is her own, and her husband has no right over it. In fact, the husband is obligated to spend on all her needs and she does not have to give him even a penny. Not only that, but he is also obligated to spend on the needs of her children (be them his own or someone else's). So, in reality, a Muslim woman is allowed to work, but does not have to spend this money on anything, as her husband is obligated to provide for all her needs. One may think this is unfair to the man, however, it is completely fair. Men have always been stronger than women in both the physical sense and the social status sense. This law ensures that they do not abuse this strength, and actually teaches them that with strength comes responsibility. You can find proof of this at this link.
The article also claimed that the woman’s husband punished her by not sleeping with her, and also, he marred a “temporary wife” to fulfill his sexual desires. This is not in accordance with Islamic Jurisprudence, in that the woman did not commit wrong to begin with (as proved in the previous paragraph) and that marriage with the intention of divorce is not allowed in Islam. So if you marry someone, you truly marry them and plan to spend the rest of your life with them. Of course, if things don’t work out, divorce is permissible. (see link)
I am not arguing with this article for any reason other than the statements in the article are completely untrue. I do not mind arguing between secularism and the enforcement of Sharia’ law, but it is not fair to take the patriarchal beliefs of uneducated Muslims and blame it on Sharia’ law. That is why I would really appreciate if you could either find articles that are truthful, or at the very least claim that is what some people conceive to be Sharia’ law.
Thank you for your time.