A few personal observations about women’s status

Saturday, 27th June 2009 at 8:00 UTC 2 comments

In a break from the excellent series of guest posts on gender issues that have appeared on this blog recently, I’m going to step in and put up some of my own thoughts on recent appearances of gender issues in the media, some positive and some negative.

Women working harder than Men at Universities

Well, having discussed this numerous times with women, I’m pretty convinced this is just the whole thing about men having to perform above average to look good, and women having to perform better than men to begin to look dignified. Its kind of like the thing about women doctors being less at ease because they must constantly prove themselves capable of ascension from their traditional role as the nurses within the health care system. Still, well done to those many women who have contributed so much to proving themselves of equal capacity to

Two appearances of Women’s “freedom of dress” in the West

First, there was the condemnation of the Burka by the French President. I must say I found this appalling that yet again a French leader presumes to pronounce on an issue personal to Muslim women in France, that issue being the form of dress they feel will bring them the most dignity. That alone should be the deciding factor, surely.

The second, a Magazine article on the BBC news website, made me wonder whether women have in fact been liberated to a point where their worth is judged by their capabilities as my very first link indicates. In it, a woman discusses how another woman should alter her appearance to conform to a set of standards in uniformity that I find rather disturbing. Apparently whilst its commendable that this woman doesn’t wear make up, she should prove she’s not against it by wearing some for an interview. Oh dear. I’m sure there’d be outrage at asking a vegetarian to eat a steak at their interview, just to prove they were prepared to go along with the system.

Women’s sexual rights in Africa

Two very depressing stories, I’m afraid. A survey has shown that over a quarter of men in South Africa have committed rape, often with more than one woman, and another reporting that girls and young women in Zimbabwe are having to sell sex for food. As a poster in a friend’s flat states “Feminists Unite, this is an international liberation fight” – this is certainly something people all over the world should remain hugely concerned about, and reminder of just how important these issues remain. I just hope someone has a guest post for next week!

P.S. Feel free to expand on any of these issues, even to contradict my views, if you want to write something.


Entry filed under: Development, Education, Gender, Human Rights, News, Women.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Simon  |  Saturday, 27th June 2009 at 21:58 UTC

    “I must say I found this appalling that yet again a French leader presumes to pronounce on an issue personal to Muslim women in France”

    Who do French Parliamentarians think they are interfering in the affairs of burqa wearing women? Don’t they know these women are the property of their husbands and fathers?

  • 2. tiggs  |  Sunday, 28th June 2009 at 13:58 UTC

    Graham, I’m surprised at you – you’re usually more careful.

    The burqa, with it’s isolating facemesh (The, ‘which way is she facing’ problem) and the Hijab/Niqab combination (eek!-I’ve-just-been-cut-up-by-the-groke) are two different things.

    Whilst the Hijab/Niqab combination makes many people uncomfortable, they usually concede that there’s no reason women shouldn’t wear it if they want. They can still communicate, interact, and drive safely (if alarmingly).

    When women wear the Burqa, on the other hand, they might as well not be in the room. And that’s the point of it. They can’t make eye contact (something so fundamental to human interaction that hours old babies can do it), they can’t begin to communicate.
    That’s why western (and some eastern) cultures don’t like it. It’s the ultimate disenfranchisement. Sod the vote, Burqa’d up women can’t even have peripheral vision!

    For a lighter look at the Hijab – try here. http://gfxonline.files.wordpress.com/2008/07/syrian_hijab.jpg
    (Syrian only, I’m afraid)



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