Yemeni women say equal rights are compatible with Islam
Inroads to equality hindered by accusations that feminists are acting 'un-Islamic'
While many nations in the Middle East were reborn the fire that was
known as the "Arab Spring," tiny Yemen, a desperately poor country still
under the yoke of tradition continues to struggle with basic human
rights. Most noticeably lacking in Yemen is equality among the sexes,
which became apparent when many women took part in popular uprisings in
the nation's capital of Sana'a last year. More women have since come
forward to speak out against inequity there.
The main things hindering women's progress in Yemen according to blogger NoonArabia are such social customs and tribal laws - and not religion. Women in local demonstrations are making a 'huge step in breaking the taboo barrier.'
Saleh has since turned over power to Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi last February. Tawakul Karman, female journalist, politician and women's rights activist who became the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize says that there is no merit in this accusation.
"Islam, like other religions, is not in conflict with women's rights, democracy or any human rights principles or values like equality, justice and dignity," Karman says. "These are the values of the divine faiths."
Yemen remains in the grip of a very poor and deeply traditional society where women have a literacy rate only half that of men. Yemeni women continue to push ahead, many using social media techniques to press their case. The Internet blogger who calls herself "NoonArabia" declares that there "is nothing in Islam that says a woman cannot work or play [a] vital role in society beyond the walls of her home. Fundamentalists always misuse Islam as a means to suppress women."
The main things hindering women's progress in Yemen according to NoonArabia are such social customs and tribal laws - and not religion. Women in local demonstrations are making a "huge step in breaking the taboo barrier."
"Yemeni women have proved themselves as partners in the struggle for change," NoonArabia says.
In spite of this, Isobel Coleman, a Middle East scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations in caution when it comes to expectations about Yemen.
"This is a very traditional society," Coleman said, adding that Yemen may have to undergo a "wholesale cultural revolution" before it deep-seated change is possible.
"Traditional gender segregation had insinuated itself into the center of the revolt from the Islamic groups who put a fence around them," Rahma Hugaira, president of Yemen's Media Women, an opposition group says.
Hugaira says that many women demonstrators felt they were being manipulated by political groups vying for power and decided to leave the square and give up the public demonstrations.
© 2012, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
- - -
Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Yemen, women's rights, bloggers, NoonArabia, Tawakul Karman
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Middle East News
- Where is President Obama as Egypt's Coptic Christians Die and Churches Burn?
- Israel and Syria at brink of war as both sides exchange fire, threats
- Elements of Syrian opposition feared to be aligned with al-Qaeda
- You'll be surprised to see what Palestinians are smuggling into Gaza
- Use Twitter, go to HELL
- As death and destruction rain down in Syria, refugees flee with lives to Jordan
- Hezbollah can reach Israel with missiles, report says
- Did intervention in Iraq unjustly discriminate against the Christians there?
- With Hezbollah statement, Syrian conflict threatens to spread into multinational conflict
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?