Saturday, December 03, 2011

Gloomy Night Thoughts on Women's Rights

I was thinking Bad And Sad Thoughts last night (all night!), after hearing about the early election results in Egypt and especially about the large support the ultra-Orthodox party seems to have. If the Muslim Brotherhood joins forces with them, the debate in Egypt will be between moderate Islam and very extreme Islam and the secular parties will be left out of power altogether. Never mind that they were a major actor in the earlier demonstrations and protests which got Mubarak removed from power.

And what will happen to women, including the women who faced violence and danger while protesting? What will they get?

From that point on my bitter thoughts veered in several different directions and some of those will become future posts, including the question of women's rights in a society where the majority (of both men and women, perhaps) believes that women should not have equal rights, the definition of democracy as simple majority rule, the question of education and women's status and the whole long and bloody learning process which proper democracy requires, not to mention the laws which protect the rights of minorities.

Other strands went into that logically impossible The Three Big Guy Religions land where one cannot argue anything with a fundamentalist because of what was written by someone thousands of years ago, where logic is meaningless, even if one uses it to show the inconsistencies in a particular holy book, and where the consequences of arguing can well be fatal. The way religion has become a form of self-definition (Us vs Them) in many parts of the world, including in the areas where Islam is the major religion worries me greatly.

Traditional interpretations of religions are Very Bad News For Women, and the more they take root the longer it will take for women to win the status of full human beings. By early morning I was thinking it would take more than an additional hundred years on the level of this whole planet. But that's my guess right now. Hundred years.

And of course one of the main reasons why it will be that slow (oh how I hope I'm wrong there!) is that mostly people truly aren't that bothered about how "others" treat "their" women. There are always more important problems to solve. Poverty comes first, wars come first, health comes first. Indeed, everything comes first! And aren't women really innately different in any case? Democracy has spoken and decided that it's not for women. Blabla blah.

Feminism indeed is the longest revolution.

As well as extremely poorly paid. Sure, there are international NGOs working on behalf of women. But if one relates their size, power and numbers to the populations at risk the effort is pitiful. Laughable! Ridiculous! A bandaid/sticking plaster that covers a suppurating tumor.

I do understand why things are the way they are. We live in the Dark Ages when it comes to human rights for women. Thinking of it that way gives me more energy, because all I really need to work on is keeping the tiny flickering light lit so that it can be found when the time is right.

Aren't you glad you read through this?