Last day of March
31 March, 2011

The last day of March, has ended on a sour note. This year, the month of March, known around the globe, as a month allotted to celebrating women, has been marred in controversy.
The country in the spotlight for obvious Gaddafi vs Allied Forces related business is Libya. But recently another person from that country has become more prominent in the news outlets.

Libya, has never been known for being a beacon for human rights, especially women’s rights. The recent

footage seen on many news channels showing a brutal treatment of a woman alleging rape is just another reminder of the unfair and inhumane treatment that women aka ‘second class citizens’ still get around the world. First came the brutal treatment, then the woman was whisked away in a car not to be seen again by the journalists and then the lying started. According to Libyan authorities, the woman in question, Eman al-Obeidy, was all sorts of crazy. First she was clinically ‘insane’, then she was ‘drunk’, and finally she was known as a ‘prostitute and a thief’. These are fantastic revelations and obviously an attempt to discredit her. Yet in a country where just a suggestion that a woman is a prostitute is enough to destroy her, this is an effective country. Interestingly enough this is the same tactic Egyptian army is using on the females they are having trouble with.
There’s another woman who comes to mind Mary Magdalene, whose character the Christian church defamed by stating that she was a whore, although there are no references in the bible to support that fact. It must have been hard for the male clergy to accept the fact that when Jesus was being hung on a cross, the disciple who was there for him was a woman (all the male disciples had fled, all except John the Beloved). Mary Magdalene was also the first, and some versions of the bible say the only person, to see Christ resurrected and on top of that she is referred to in early Christian writings as “the apostle of the apostles.” Perhaps that proved to a bit too much power alloted to a woman, so to bring her down a notch or two, (so that women didn’t start getting any ideas about being smart or capable of a thought of their own) Mary Magdalene’s character was assassinated. ‘The apostle of the apostles’ became a whore.
Therefore this old trick of attacking a woman’s character and virtue has existed for quite some time. And the tactics haven’t changed.
That is not to say that nothing else has changed. Women have rights in most countries. They are no longer considered property, they can vote, they can work and they can have opinions that differ from their husbands. But what more could they possibly want? How about equal pay? In United States, the land of the free and equal, a woman still makes .75 cents to a man’s $1.00. Granted, making less than a male compatriot is still better than being falsely labeled in national press as a “prostitute and a petty theft” but why should that be a consolation? Why should a woman be less of a value in the society than a man?
In New York Times there was a small tribute for Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first female Vice Presidential candidate on a major ticket. She died on March 26, after years of serving the country in the House of Representatives. While in Congress, Ferraro focused much of her legislative attention on equality for women in the areas of wages, pensions, and retirement plans.
Here’s an interesting tidbit about her life. Ferraro began working as an elementary schoolteacher “because that’s what women were supposed to do.” Unsatisfied, she decided to attend law school; an admissions officer said to her, “I hope you’re serious, Gerry. You’re taking a man’s place, you know.”
Here’s to hoping that someday we won’t need a day to celebrate women’s rights. That they will be a reality and not something dreams are made of. But until that day comes, Geraldine Ferraros of this generation have to continue fighting for the rights of every Eman al-Obeidy in the world.