Worldwide: Once there was a thriving Arab women's movement. Right now, survival is our political act
Arab women are generally portrayed as victimised, subservient.
Ahdaf Souei in The Guardian writes, "They sit next to silent, wide-eyed children in Iraqi hospitals, they stumble among the ruins of their homes in Jenin. Many in the west seem to think they need to be dragged out from under their veils and scolded into standing up for themselves. But as we all try to block, to temper, to survive the coming horror, it is crucial for sympathisers in the west to understand the truth. The women's movement started in Egypt, Palestine and Syria in the 1880s. By the 1960s women in many Arab countries had the vote, equal pay for equal work and maternity and childcare legislation that is still a dream in the west. Massive women's organisations worked to improve women's education and healthcare. Women (and men) campaigned for reforms in the personal laws and notched up several successes.
Submitted on Tue, 03/18/2003 - 00:00
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