Today, as you may know, is International Women’s Day. It is a day where social media is full of inspiring messages, mostly coming from women, on how we females continue to overcome adversary and gender inequality to succeed in whatever we set our minds to. But this isn’t the main reason this day is highlighted in our calendars.
As I wrote in yesterday’s post, there are so many different issues facing our gender all around the world.
Though it may seem counter-productive (and even more indicative of the disparity) to have a single day of the year dedicated to women’s issues, I can’t help but feel that any chance we get to raise our voices and concerns is a step in the right direction.
Maybe someday we will stop making the distinction.
Now when it comes to this country, you’ve probably heard this narrative before: the Lebanese woman is so much more advanced than her Arab counterpart. She can drive, she can get an education- reflected in our higher literacy rate, she can work, she can go out of the house whenever she wants, wearing whatever she desires. She can even vote!
How wonderful it is to be a Lebanese women with all those freedoms some can only dream to have!
The truth couldn’t be any more bitter.
This is a society that blames the woman for getting raped because she wasn’t “appropriately dressed” and then forces her rapist to marry her to get out of a sentence (if he gets tried in the first place).
This is a society that fails to acknowledge marital rape and sits back, cross-armed when it comes to domestic violence.
A society where sexual harassment abounds. If you read the stories shared on the sexual harassment tracker that was launched a few weeks ago, you would be utterly disgusted.
This is a society that refuses to give women the right to pass on their nationality to their husbands and children.
A society where women still face challenges to get an education. And even when they do, the challenges only get more pronounced as they enter the workforce.
A society that grants women 70 days (10 weeks) of maternity leave, while some Scandinavian countries give up to a year. That’s basically asking you to choose what is more important: work or family.
A society where our representation in the government is so abysmal, it’s not even worth mentioning the statistics.
This is a society that makes us feel like second class citizens- and doesn’t plan to change that status anytime soon.
So while we may be celebrating how amazing the women in our lives are and how much they have sacrificed, we must not forget that we still have a long, long way to go in this country- and elsewhere. Sure it’s nice to pat ourselves on the back, but that is not at all what this day is all about.
Choose to celebrate by supporting the great work many organizations do to further the cause and bridge the gap between men and women. This is the right way to go.