Archive for the ‘Women's Empowerment’ Category

blue sky

When you look to yourself as a single unit in this entire world, you may absurd the ability to bring yourself back to realism. Realizing the details of your existence is the perfect way to believe in YOU.
My Answer:
I am Weam. I dream nothing to achieve it all.

” I think myself is too small comparing to the whole world,” this is how my friend Farah described herself when she truly knew herself after along soul trip. Well, geographically speaking it is even unseen with the naked eyes how small you are comparing to this universe Booby, but subconsciously speaking it is the complete opposite.
My Answer:
I am Weam. I think of myself as too big for this world.

Why am I alive? I am asking you to ask yourself. Why are you alive? For me, although I question excessively in life, it was a matter of living and knowing not knowing but living. I question around me, not me. And it is the time for me to work on knowing me before dedicating me knowing around me. It sounds complicated but still understandable to me but not around me.
My Answer:
I am Weam. No one can understand me!

Now can you question me, after I gave you my answers?


Women's Day

Islam and women’s Status

Posted: January 27, 2010 in Women's Empowerment

By Weam Al Dakheel

Nawal El Saadawi is an Egyptian feminist, activist, physician and writer. She has more than forty books. Her novels and books are mainly focused on women’s position and the feminist movement in the Arab world. In the article “Empowerment of women, writing and fighting” Nawal El Saadawi states her views on the status of women in the Arab world. She talks about different subjects such as knowledge, the feminist movement, and violence against women particularly in the Arab world. El Saadawi has a special definition to violence against women; as not separated from violence against the poor, the black people in Africa. She believes that religions -particularly Islam, as she comes from an Islamic Egyptian family- has a direct violence against women by veiling them “physically and psychologically” added to undergoing the process of “female circumcision” among young women. (Saadawi, 98) In fact, Islamic religion does not recognize any discrimination between genders so far as a protection for women’s honor and reputation and that is naturally accruing to fulfill social and biological differences we are born with.

Furthermore, the Egyptian feminist is known with her fearless self-expression and major attention to women’s rights. In the “Empowerment of women, writing and fighting” Sadaawi presented her intellectual perspectives concerning violence against women such as female circumcision, and women’s role within the media, education, religions, and politics. Some if not most of her lecture discussions contained chaotic and disordered information and personal opinions. For example, she related the politics of George Bush and the religious fundamentalists with the process of female circumcision. She gave an explanation to that by connecting the policy of George Bush in the white house that “encouraged the religious fundamentalist groups all over the world.” She mentioned what Anwar Sadat did during his presidency in Egypt with the Islamist and Christian fundamentalist and in return separated the state under the rule of two religions and in return women are the ones to suffer first from the violence in the state. In her point view “whenever revival of the most reactionary and right wing parts of religions” exists “women are affected first.” In addition, Saadawi has criticized the knowledge in the Arab region and the way of education. The absence of diversity in knowledge produced female workers who are “ ignorant” of things happening around them and separated from what is happening outside their private bubble. She defines the knowledge as a “sin” in the Arab world supporting her claim with Eve and Adam’s story. Saadawi went back with history and reminded us with Eve’s punishment for eating from the forbidden tree. In the Arab world, women who gamble to eat from the knowledge tree would be punished and sent to jail. In her point of view, overall education strategies in this Islamic part of the world are “ fragment” and women are educated with no conscious and awareness of things happing around them.

Moreover, in the “Empowerment of women, writing and fighting” Saadawi failed to differentiate between the biological and cultural practices and the Islamic law in matters concerning women. Her tone is harsh, aggressive and forceful as her arguments demonstrated her own lack of knowledge and experience in the Islamic religion. Taking into consideration that she is an atheist, Sadaawi inappropriately asserts that the Islam are prejudiced towards women by veiling the “physically and psychologically” and considered that as a violence against women. She claims that women are looked as inferior to men in Islam and all other religions. They are positioned under the opposite gender including God and prophets who are all males. But God should be respectable and beyond masculinity and gender issues. Additionally, Sadaawi fails to separate the family injustice upon women and their position in the Islamic religion. This is an evidence in her article “Empowerment of women, writing and fighting” where she says, “ my parents said because you are a girl, you have to know how to cook and you will marry in the future,” But her one year older brother “was playing all day.” The generalization particularly in Islam served her wrongly. The use of words and information were misplaced and distracting. In some point she is discussing the subject of female circumcision in Egypt, then to the discrimination towards women in all religion “of the world, and finally how rare the “ USA speaks about violation of human rights.”

In response to El Saadawi’s article “Empowerment of Women, Righting and Fighting” It is true that woman in the pre-Islamic Arabia suffered different forms of discrimination such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), inheriting women as slaves, and infantilizing newly born girls. But under the rule of Islam, women’s status has changed fundamentally. The Islamic law has a major role in improving the conditions of female existence by securing basic safeguards, and instituting rights of property, inheritance, education and prohibiting any form of physical violence against women.And Even if Saadawi referred to Christianity as one of the religions violating women by undergoing female circumcision, the Coptic Pope Shenouda, the leader of Egypt’s minority Christian community, stated “that neither the Quran nor the Bible demand or mention female circumcision.” In addition, Saadawi misunderstanding of Islam and being unable to distinguish between the cultural injustices inflicted on women fails the legitimacy of her personal claims. Assuming that “women are ignorant of what is happening around them” implies that they are intellectually inferior to the opposite sex. As a result, el Saadawi is harming and underestimating her sex more than awaking them. She is the one who is discriminating women not religion and God by stating that they are “ignorant.”
In fact, her inaccurate research into the pillars of the Islamic religion without adequate knowledge and information take away credibility of her claims and on the contrary, a prove to her own knowledge ignorance.

By Weam Al Dakheel

The Breeze of Youth by Ulfat al-Idilbi paved way into a discussion of the women in the Arab Region who have emerged to empower themselves, to fight the status quo in order to show that they have something to offer the world, and that they can do as the men does—this however is not to compete with the other gender, but to be of equals. In the reading, the writer has pictured perfectly the prevalence of the “generation gap” in the Arab world.

The granddaughter grows up in a different age—where women are educated and given the freedom to do as they want—wear the clothes they want, speak for themselves, and even plan their futures. The teenager of today’s generation has his/her own different attitude as with the traditional practices of the times before. The events happening around the world and the changes affect the society that we are in. In this story, the grandmother and granddaughter’s beliefs and standpoints clash with each other—a kind of conflict, which I believe, is normal for every given generation. It is not regarded as a negative thing but a more positive one because it allows people of different generations to understand each other and meet at one point.

In addition, it is an opportunity to be able to think alone for yourself and plan your future, it is the freedom to know what you want in your life and do what you should in order to conquer your dreams, for your own self-satisfaction and self-growth. This has been absent for a long time in the Arab countries, where women were always seen at home, living the conservative, submissive and passive lifestyle.
However, there is something to be regarded in this. Personally I think that the granddaughter in the story is really expected to balance practicing their traditional values and norms with respect to culture and this time of liberalism where there is modernization in different aspects—career, family life, lifestyle in general—to pace her life with the “rapid social transformation” as the Arab Women Writers portray it in the readings.

By Weam Al Dakheel

weam al dakheel international women's day

Salwa Bakr is a renowned Egyptian woman literary writer. Born and based in Cairo, she had been a film critic for several Arabic language publications in Cyprus. With a degree in business management and literary criticism, she embarked in the field of journalism and literature and become one of Egypt’s most celebrated novelists and short essay writers. Bakr’s works had won not only national acclaim, but also international recognition. One of her most famous works was the story about the “International Women’s Day.”

This story revolves around a male teacher who discusses the significance of women in society among elementary pupils. He is teaching the children to value and appreciate the precious role women play in the larger society. However, the great irony is that the teacher himself had problems observing this same teaching. Throughout the discussion, the headmistress was listening and reflecting on the said social importance of women.

This story reveals the conflict between the desires and aspirations shared by some individuals and groups to advocate for the cause of women in Arab society and the harsh social realities. Arab countries may join the world in celebrating the International Women’s Day, but whether there is the sincerity to live up to gender equality and the protection of women’s rights and liberties in a largely patriarchal and traditional society remains to be seen. The teacher in the story may have the best intentions to campaign for the social uplifting of Arab women, but how is he going to correct social norms and conventions established several generations before him. Observing such day for women may, thus, be merely a “show” in order to portray the country’s national image as caring for its women even though this may not be entirely the true case in real life. This stresses that much remains to be done in order to improve the lot of Arab women other than simply participating in International Women’s Day festivities at the official level. The commitment to pursue greater social freedoms for women must be carried out at all levels from the education to the workplace to every family’s home.