March 8, 2018 was International Women’s Day, with marches, protests and educational meetings held to highlight the inequalities and discrimination that women continue to suffer throughout the world.
Muslim women are one group who exemplify what it is to suffer that fate, being forced to wear the blue burqa, which conceals their fact and allows them only to see from the head piece.
Muslim conservatives such as members of the Iranian government, not to mention Muslim extremists, espouse the “belief” that women are their private property, to do with as they wish and the blue burqa is one way of controlling them.
But it is for the free world to denounce these governments and extremists for their oppressive treatment of women. It is for the free world to stand up and call for the ending of such governments and extremist forces, and to enshrine protections and equality for women where they are oppressed and without rights.
On Feb. 1, the Globe and Mail published a Reuters’ story by Heba Kanso about women in Iran, many of whom were arrested for defiantly holding up their hijabs in protest.
Bravo to those women who possibly risked their lives as well as their freedom to openly defy the conservative Iranian government.
In recent months, the Iranian government has complained about “outsiders” using social media to cause protests and uprisings against the state. Well, if that’s the case, too bad. Your desire to preserve your absolute power and control over every citizen is long past and change for the better is in order.
Boko Haram, also known as Islamic State in West Africa, is another example of women not being granted equal rights.
As per a Wikipedia.org article, In 2014, Boko Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, although 57 of them later escaped their captors.
At the international level, Boko Haram has been condemned for its actions and there’s been much activism to highlight the plight of those under its heel. Check out #BringBackOurGirls on Twitter as one source.
Fortunately, there are champions of women’s rights in the Third World, including Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education.
The 15-year-old Yousafzai was nearly murdered by the Taliban for her activism. But through media attention, she acquired international fame for her outspokenness for female education. She won the Nobel Peace Prize and was made an honourary Canadian citizen in 2017.
The issue of women’s rights and freedom from oppression are found in popular culture, too. In 2017’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’, Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillar) share a moment in which they discuss their concerns over Thanos (their father) and that he’s a danger to all other women.
As they part, Nebula offers a stern expression regarding what she intends to do about him.
So, as International Women’s Day has come and gone, we are reminded that the fight for women’s rights and equality continue throughout the world.
It’s our cause – our imperative – in the free democractic nations of the world is to continue advocating for change where oppression continues.