Women and Men Are Not Equal
Many women throughout history have strived hard to achieve equality with men, to have the right to go to work, to have the right to choose their partners, to have the right to boldly say their opinions, or to feel free to express their emotions. Also, women writers have fought for the right to openly use their names, to be wholly recognized as effective members of their communities and be part of every walk of life. We are making political and economic decisions to prove that we can successfully promote our communities. But unfortunately, asking for equality has become a way of punishment. For that reason, we need to reconsider the idea of equality.
God gifts women with the amazing ability to endure the pain of pregnancy, which proves that we can endure any hardships; nevertheless, because of the stress of the modern world, women started to endure too much. I was told on multiple occasions while defending women that since we asked for equality, we have to bear the consequences. So, for example, if you say that women work harder than men, you might find one man saying, “It is your fault that you asked for your equality; you should stay at home and bring your kids up.” I cannot deny that bringing kids up is really important, especially in our modern world in which kids are growing up suffering from many psychological problems and they are in need of their mothers to grow up psychologically well.
A typical woman nowadays will do the following: She wakes up really early in the morning to prepare breakfast, wakes her kids up, makes their sandwiches, drives them to school, goes to work for around six to nine, hours and then goes back home, maybe after picking her kids up from school. If she really cares about their health, she won’t buy fast food for them, but cook for them. She might be exhausted and exert the rest of her energy doing housework. Certainly, she does not have any energy to listen to the problems of her husband or sexually foster their relationship.
After many years of such exhaustion, many women suffer from different health problems and other psychological issues. They might be discarded by their husbands. They might have to endure divorce, not to mention the financial pressures that women suffer if they are widows and single mothers. And even if they unconditionally love their kids, their kids might naively blame them because they cannot provide them with luxurious lives like that of their friends or people on TV. Moreover, the cliche about Egyptian women is that they are sullen, moody, and querulous.
Many women around the world suffer from different problems, but as a young women living in Egypt, I will talk about women in the Arab world. After the two consecutive revolutions in 2011 and 2012, the country has suffered from a huge deterioration such that the middle class is about the same as the lower classes. Egyptian women are known as the bravest and most patient women; they endure a lot and will always stay loyal to their husbands. They are like almost all women around the world; many of them have to help their husbands, whether that means working in the fields in the country or having a full-time job in the cities. However, many Egyptian and Arab men do not help with housework, because some of them believe that women were created to cook, clean, and to keep their men happy—although this is not part of our religion, Islam. So, many Egyptian women endure the stress and pressure of helping financially at home and doing housework. On top of this, they are supposed to always look beautiful, young, and happy. They are never supposed to complain, otherwise they will be discarded by their men, who will find or marry other young women to provide them with physical pleasure that cannot be provided by their wives.
For all of these reasons, I think that we as women need to redefine what we mean by equality. Equality should mean equivalence. We should consider women’s abilities and needs so they can have opportunities that are equal to men. For example, women should have the choice to work part-time jobs or to work from home. Also, for those who choose full-time jobs, they should be provided with days off to relax when they are on their periods.
At the end, I want to send love to all those women from the Arab world who are suffering many problems because of the political turbulence in the region. Many women from different parts of the world have proven their ability to create hope in a hopeless reality, and it is our turn now.