Some of us may just receive messages of congratulation, while others may get red flowers from a lover, husband, father, brother or a son, and if a bit more lucky, the flowers will be accompanied with a gift.
On March 8, 2015, most women of the world will be remembered by their families, institutions and televisions; parties will be organized on our behalf, fashion designers wait for this day to dedicate and show their best creations for us women. Yes, all this happens in one day and just for us, WOMEN! “How can’t we be happy?”, asked one man. Yes man, I am not happy even when you celebrate my annual day because you remember me only once. No, I am not happy if you do the best fashion show for me because I am not made for only amazing you with the fusion of those costumes with my beauty.
Only one day after this international holiday I will be harassed, verbally and physically violated as usual, raped and obliged to marry the man who harmed me. My father will decide for my life as if I am not responsible for doing it. My brother will insult me and prevent me from my human rights that he is fully living. My husband will forcefully take my money and consider me as a property of him neglecting that I am an equally independent human. My son will just forget all the love and care I am daily and continuously giving him and get mad if I once don’t prepare food because of that illness I cannot resist. No, I am not happy that my daughter is living the same life I live. I am sad because all men of the world are exercising their fake masculinity on her. I’m sad because she may not go to school.
I should be sad because for every dollar you gain, I earn only 78 cents for the same job. I’m never as punished as you for making the same mistakes. I should be sad because I am a subject to your incorrect interpretations of religion and traditions that are never applied to yourself. I should be sad because I cannot safely step outside my home; and if I’m to stay late outside, I will be offensively described. I cannot travel by my own and in security. I should be sad because I don’t have a life, but since my young age I embody the fear that my whole family considers a threat to the family honor. I wear what they choose for me, I may get all covered at the age of six just because my father thinks that’s what protects me from men’s eyes. I should be sad because love in my community is a pride for men but a shame for us, women. I should never be happy because I am never treated as you are; I, in so many countries, give birth at 15 because my father or brother prevented me from going school, squeezing my role to fit that very classic and limiting list they set for me: cooking, cleaning, taking care of my family and certainly obeying my husband always.
I still cannot drive. I am deeply sad that I cannot go into politics or engineering because in my community, as in many communities, these are strictly for men. My sadness is because my expectations and dreams are limited to getting married and having children. My voice is nothing, I am not even able to vote in some countries. They say I am half of society, and they forget that it’s me and only me who gives birth to the other half, me and only me who raises them, me and only me who shapes them to be the way they are.
Let me tell you something dear Men. Gender equality and Women’s rights are no longer optional but a must for a peaceful, economically advanced world and a politically stable country, for better performance in your factories, administrations, schools and hospitals …etc. Without me enjoying all my rights as you, the world is doomed to failure.
On this day I am supposed to be happy, supposed to bring back the glories of Dihia, Tinhinane, Announa and Fadhma Nsume…etc. and so many others great women around the world.
I wish you a very happy Women’s Day and I hope this will be a starting point towards real implementation of authentic women’s rights existence, gender equality and justice.
With love, Manal Harrouche
• Dihia is a woman who led a whole army in North Africa and could bravely resist to the Arabic invasion and won Okba bno Nafi’ for seven years .
• Tinhinane is a woman leader who used to rule the Algerian Sahara.
• Announa is a jewish queen who used to rule the Eshawine region during the Roman colonization.
• Fadhma N’soumer is a woman warrior who could resist ten generals in the French Army during the French colonization to Algeria and she was the first woman to start a revolution and lead an army in the high mountains of Djurdjura .