It is not permissible for a Muslim female to marry a non-Muslim male. However, a Muslim male may marry only Christian or Jewish female. It is not permissible for a Muslim male to marry any other non-Muslim female.
The reason it is permissible for the Muslim male to marry a non-Muslim female is that he would be able to easily convince the Christian or Jewish wife into accepting Islam. There is a possibility of the non-Muslim male convincing his Muslim wife into abandoning Islam. Therefore, Islam has considered her feminine nature and protected her correct beliefs from being a victim of abuse from the male dominance.
The Muslim husband is not obliged to pressurise his Christian/Jewish wife to accept Islam. He may apply wisdom and diplomacy and only influence her to Islam. In Islam, a female is equally respected as a male, however, due to the different masculine and feminine natures, Islam believes in separation of roles. It is obvious that there are many things a male can do, which is not easily possible for a female and vice versa.
And Allah Ta’ala Knows Best.
Mufti Ebrahim Desai