Women their education and chances to become a parliamentary

While in Jerusalem some ultra-Orthodox women may have their growing desire fulfilled to meet the standards of beauty in the secular society that surrounds them – without compromising the religious requirement for modesty, in several Muslim countries women are more and more pushed in the corner, not having any opportunity to have some beauty adjustments or to have their brains filled with more knowledge.

In Israel we do find a third of Jerusalem’s Jewish population belongin to the ultra-Orthodox community, known for its stringent observance of Jewish religious law, or halacha. Its members are strongly committed to preserving tradition, often by remaining separate and distinct from Israel’s secular majority. Many of them demand male-female segregation in public places; are intolerant of exposure of the female body; censor photographs of women in their publications and advertisements; and believe that men should not listen to female singers as this may arouse lustful thoughts.

Second to Israel in its receipt of American foreign aid Mubarak’s corrupt and often brutal rule could survive for 30 years thanks to U.S. taxpayers. There the women a few years ago like in Lebanon could walk freely and have to work hard like their male counterparts.  Only 18% of working age Saudi women are part of the workforce in their country where they are not allowed to drive a car. Saudi women earn an estimated $7,156 annually, while Saudi men made around $37,661 on average — one of the widest gaps globally.

Women made up almost half of the workforce last year, and yet were paid only 77 cents for every dollar men made. This wage gap varies considerably among states. Women in Maryland and Vermont, for example, make 85 cents for every dollar men make, while women in Wyoming and Louisiana make closer to 65 cents.

Income inequality is only one of the challenges women face, as is shown in a recent study by the Center for American Progress (CAP). The study, “The State of Women in America: A 50-State Analysis of How Women Are Faring Across the Nation,” examined the challenges facing women throughout the United States by measuring their economic security, prominence in leadership roles and the current status of women’s health issues. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the states that scored the worst in the country by these measures. {Click here to see which states are the worst for women}

In many countries we see, like in Mali, that Low educational attainment is a major contributor to gender inequality. Although educational attainment is poor among both genders, Malian girls and women are less likely than their male counterparts to be enrolled at each level of education. This disparity worsens at higher levels of education. In addition to a wide gender imbalance, the country has recently had to deal with considerable internal unrest.

In many Islamist countries we can feel the ground shivering by Islamic extremists who took advantage of the instability in those countries where the people did not agree any more with their government. The uprisings or coups are used by the fundamentalist as an easy target to get their dreams spread.

Iran, standing on the 7th place of inequality, received some of the lowest scores in the world for its gender disparities in economic participation. In the country, where in the sixties girls ran in bikini and took on all sorts of high jobs, just 17% of working age women participate today, against the will of the Taliban. Estimated earned incomes differ considerably between both genders, as well, with men earning nearly five times what women do. Politically, the nation is male dominated: Just 3% of members of parliament are women, and men outnumber women in ministerial positions ten to one. A recent report from a U.N. representative noted 30 female presidential candidates were all ruled ineligible for the country’s presidential election due to their gender.

To talk about that inequality in the jurisdiction of a country, standard bearer Malala Yousafzai, who first came to public attention in 2009 after she anonymously wrote an affecting BBC diary about life under the Taliban, came to Brussels to give a voice to all those oppressed women in the world.

This courageous girl was at 15 shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in October 2012 because of her campaign for girls’ education in her country which after Nigeria has the second highest number of unschooled children in the world. As young as 11 Malala began blogging for the BBC’s Urdu site, she brought a convincing voice writing about her ambition to become a doctor, her fears of the Taliban and her determination to not allow the Taliban — or her fear — to prevent her from getting the education she needed to realize her dreams. She got on television, where we could see the Taliban men standing behind at the wall, annoyed but not knowing what they should do. Her television debut in Pakistan was quickly followed with more opportunities to give women a voice in the East. She became a well known figure in Pakistan, but also a target for the Taliban who are totally against the woman having a voice at all.

The attack on her, a shocking act on a child (against Koran teaching) catapulted her to international fame. Today we still can see the damage in her face, caused by that dramatic assault, in which a militant boarded her school bus in Pakistan’s north-western Swat valley and opened fire, wounding two of her school-friends as well.

The attack on Malala exposed not only the dark side of an army unable to provide security but also the abysmal quality of education in Pakistan. Only 2.3 percent of its gross domestic product is allocated to education. Pakistan spends seven times more on its military. According to a recent U.N. study, 5.1 million children are out of school—the second-highest number in the world—and two-thirds of them are female.

Halima Mansour in the Guardian heralds Malala as a young “Pakistani heroine” for her bravery and independence.

“Malala doesn’t want to play to some western-backed or Taliban-loved stereotype. She shows us that there are voices out there, in Pakistan, that need to be heard, if only to help the country find democracy that is for and from the people, all the people.”

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States says:

“We have a national lie. Why do we have to tell the truth to the world?”

“The national lie is that the Swat Valley has been liberated from the bad Taliban. Young Malala and her father mess up that narrative.”

Indian schoolchildren pay tribute to Malala

Schoolchildren around the world voiced their support for Malala after she was shot

The Taliban almost made Malala a martyr; they succeeded in making her a symbol.

“Malala was the lone voice in that wilderness,” writes Feryal Gauhar in the local Express Tribune.

“Hers was the voice which made us consider that indeed, there can be alternatives, and there can be resistance to all forms of tyranny. Today, the attempt to silence that voice shall only make her stronger; the blood stains on her school uniform shall only feed the conviction that as long as there is breath and life, there shall be struggle.”

The story of her slow recovery, from delicate surgery at a Pakistani military hospital to further operations and a programme of rehabilitation in the UK, has since been closely tracked by the world’s media. Named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2013, put forward for the Nobel Peace Prize and has reportedly secured a $3m (£2m) book contract for her life story.

The memoir she is writing to raise awareness about the 61 million children around the world who are not in school indicates she accepts that unasked-for responsibility as a synonym for courage and a champion for girls everywhere. However Malala concludes her book, her story so far is only just beginning.

Two organizations representing private schools in Pakistan have banned her book, ‘I Am Malala’‎ from more than 40,000 schools across Pakistan. According to them the book is an insult to Islam and shows Malala herself to be nothing more than a tool of the West.

“The federation thought we should review the book, and having reviewed it we came to the decision that the book was not suitable for our children, particularly not our students,”

said the federation’s president, Mirza Kashif.

“Pakistan is an ideological country. That ideology is based on Islam…. In this book are many comments that are contrary to our ideology.”

Once again we see how the Pakistan government is pulled from one site to an other and how it is under Taliban dictatorship. The leaders of an important sector of the Pakistani educational world has chosen to ban Pakistan’s best-known and most loved proponent of education, not just in Pakistan, but all around the world.

Despite the largely secularist policies and intentions of Jinnah, Pakistan is still under the thumb of the holier-than-thou men in beards and turbans, men who always know more than anyone else, even the best educated, who are always closer to God than anyone else, and who reckon they know how to put their fingers on apostasy and unbelief wherever they rear their ugly heads. Even if they don’t raise their heads, the mullas can always make them up.

writes Denis MacEoin of the Algemeiner.

Now after her near-fatal attempt to silence the 15-year-old, she is more dangerous to Pakistan’s status quo than ever before and the Taliban is still trying to get her silenced. The world is willing to give this girl a voice and recognises what she has done for womanhood. For some it is very difficult to understand that gender equality may drive development (rather than the other way round).

for The Guardian wrote on Wednesday 30 October 2013 on Malala Yousafzai’s fearless and still-controversial memoir:

Malala Yousafzai

In Arabic, “revolution” is a feminine noun. This is fitting, as without women revolutions are sterile. They have no movement, no life, no sound. Urdu, a distorter of tongues, pilfering as it does from Persian, Hindi, but largely Arabic, uses the masculine word for coup d’etat – inqilab – for revolution, rather than the accurate feminine: thawra. Perhaps that’s why the Taliban were confused. Perhaps that’s why they imagined that shooting a 15-year-old girl would somehow enhance their revolution.

As the newly released 2013 Global Gender Gap Index — which measures gender parity in 136 countries — reminds us, gender equity isn’t simply a matter of equal rights.

From her book we can also see how dangerous it can be when there is no power fairly shared among the provinces of a country.  there is not only the deepening ethnic imbalance so profound that only an extraordinary common enemy could distract from it. The burgeoning power of the Taliban in today’s Pakistan should not be much of a surprise to those who understand, as Malala does, the need to redress these ethnic wounds.

After she got got the prestigious Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought she did not leave Belgium to leave it like it was before. Next she continued to speak in the parliament at the congress of the WIP: the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (from 27-29 November 2013). At that meeting is looked at reshaping society through female leadership; female empowerment for peace, security and integrity; impact of elected women in parliaments; fight against corruption; delivering on gender equality; gender studies in academics; and the use of technology and women’s political participation.

The intention of the summit is to consider the position of the woman in our society and how she can play a role in the development of the economical and political field of a country. Those countries bridging the gender gap will also receive awards for their leadership in this important task.

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Read more about the congress in Brussels:

Milestones for women ordered

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Please do find additional literature:

  1. Rise of the ‘secret’ ultra-Orthodox Jewish beauty salons
  2. The 2013 Time 100
  3. The Target
  4. The earth bleeds for Malala
  5. When gender inequality is good economics
  6. Gender equality and women’s rights in the post-2015 agenda
  7. Update: Malala Yousafzai “The Girl’s Hero:” The Ironic Gift of Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year Award

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  • Leonard Pitts: Malala Yousafzai’s courage (miamiherald.com)
    You may not listen to music or sing. You may not read. You may not leave the house except under certain strict conditions. You may not watch movies or television. You may not aspire. You may not learn.These are the strictures the Taliban seeks to impose upon women and girls in the places it infests, including the Swat Valley in Pakistan. And when she spoke against those strictures, when she gave interviews and wrote a blog asserting her right to learn and to be, Malala Yousafzai made herself a target of those men, one of whom boarded her school bus last October with a gun and asked, “Who is Malala?” None of the girls spoke, but a few glanced toward Malala and the gunman had his answer. He raised his pistol — it was a Colt .45 — and fired three shots. One bullet went through a girl’s hand. Another ended up in a girl’s right arm. And one went through the socket of Malala’s left eye.
  • Malala, Pakistan, and Israel (algemeiner.com)
    She has been given enough prestigious awards to last her several lifetimes, and may well enter the Guinness Book of Records for their sheer number. She has been received by the U.S. President and the Queen of Great Britain, by Prime Ministers, and innumerable dignitaries everywhere. She has spoken to the General Assembly of the United Nations. No matter where she goes, people listen to her. She talks of peace and education, and her message goes deep. Instead of silencing her, the Taliban turned her into a megaphone to trumpet aloud the emptiness of their philosophy.You would think the Pakistanis would love her to bits, and, of course, large numbers of them do. She’s bigger than all the Qawwali singers put together. Her name is everywhere. One day, she could stand for the post of Prime Minister. And God help the Taliban if that day ever dawns.
  • The creation of a Malala (maheshwarigangadhar.wordpress.com)
    The title of the autobiography, I am Malala itself indicates that the main idea is to present people with a photograph of the girl and tell them that she is Malala, with nothing else being revealed. She is the girl who spoke against the Taliban, but not the only girl; a fact that the world has not been enlightened with. Idolising her father, and with an interest in politics, Malala today is the West’s role model of what a young, school-going, oppressed (by Taliban) girl would be, if she ever spoke up and made herself evident to the world. She becomes a commodity through which the West can maintain an argument of international relations with a prosperous outcome and likewise.
  • Girls’ education in Pakistan – Malala Yousafzai (libraryeuroparl.wordpress.com)
    During their brief rule over the SwatValley, the Taliban destroyed more than 400 schools. More than half of these were girls’ schools. They argued that women (and girls) should stay in the home. The European Parliament stated in a 2012 resolution that violent extremism in Pakistan continues to impede the rights of girls. Since the government regained control of the region in 2009, it has rebuilt most of these schools, but there is still high inequality: there are 717 primary schools for boys, but only 425 for girls. Talimand Khan, from a Pakistani think-tank, adds that along with the number of schools, the quality of education has to be improved, too; some Pakistani religious representatives stated in interviews that girls should not receive the same education as boys, but be prepared to become ‘obedient’ wives and mothers.
  • Inspiration or danger? Private schools in Pakistan ban Malala Yousafzai’s book – The Independent (independent.co.uk)
    Yet in Pakistan, the reaction to Malala and her book has been mixed. Many have claimed she has been used by the West for its own interests. The Taliban threatened to attack bookshops that stocked it.Mr Kashif, who said 25 million pupils attended private schools in Pakistan, claimed that in the book Malala had defended the writing of Salman Rushdie on the grounds of free speech and had failed to use the abbreviation PUH – “peace be upon him” – when referring to the prophet Mohamed. He said there was a sense that Malala had not written large parts of the book, because it referred to things that happened before she was born.Observers say the ban comes amid discussions in Pakistan about Malala’s actions. It also follows recent controversy at a celebrated Lahore private school that started teaching sex education.
  • Education is a right, not a privilege. (laurenradmer.wordpress.com)
    The most valuable gift any person can receive is an education. In many African and Asian countries, women are discouraged or even forbidden from obtaining an education, in an attempt to spread male dominance and keep women ignorant. Many of these countries, including Pakistan, impose force and violence against women. According to a documentary created by the Department for International Development titled “Afraid and alone: Violence against women in Pakistan”, a woman in Pakistan is raped every two hours, 4,500 women experienced violence during the first 6 months of 2009, and roughly 1000 women are murdering in “honour killings” each year.
  • Malala (exploredreamexamine.wordpress.com)
    From my perspective, the gender gaps in women’s education Malala discusses are far closer to home than Pakistan is. As a student at an all-girls school that focuses on educating girls, I’m lucky. Girls don’t fall under the radar here as much as in co-ed schools, but are encouraged to take math, science and subjects typically considered to be “male- dominated.” But both in schools and in the workforce in the US, this is still a problem. Women are still paid less in the professional world, even when equally qualified as their male counterparts. Girls still are expected to be “worse” in math and science. Often stereotypes dominate our culture so much, it is hard to remove them.
  • Women need a voice and a seat at the table (theguardian.com)
    This week, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA) will bring together parliamentarians from around the world to discuss the post-2015 development agenda, with a conference on gender equality and women’s empowerment.Part of CPA’s work is aimed at empowering women leaders. This is about tackling a basic injustice, but it’s also critical to making the best, most informed decisions about poverty.
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    While most international leaders are happy to make a broad commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment, they have been too vague on the detail of what should be done and how. It is imperative that countries commit to specific, measureable outcomes, because, in the words of Hillary Clinton: “What gets measured gets done.”
  • Why Gender Equality Is Not Just About Equal Rights (theage.com.au)
    Women of the world: pack your warmest sweaters, and head immediately to Iceland.According to a newly released report from the World Economic Forum [pdf], Iceland is the No. 1 country in the world for gender equality, for the fifth year in a row. And that equality is helping propel Iceland and its fellow Nordic nations to new economic heights. Turns out, the smaller the gender gap, the more economically competitive the nation. Even when that nation is totally freezing.(The report puts Australia at 24th place on the gender gap index, just below the United States but below Burundi, Cuba and New Zealand. Australia has moved up in the ranking one position from last year, but that’s not so good when compared with the No. 15 ranking achieved in 2006.)
  • Gender Equality and Equality (aclarioncallforgenderequality.wordpress.com)
    he’ and ‘she’ they both have quality,
    they both have ability
    so we should prefer gender equity and equality….!
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12 thoughts on “Women their education and chances to become a parliamentary

  1. It’s so complicated, isn’t it — when the west takes one hero, Malala Yousafzai, from many, and makes her the spokeswoman. People like Malala Joya, who is on the frontlines of activism for middle eastern women, and the women of DOKH, a Kurdish women’s movement, are represented by her — even though she speaks only on one issue — education for women and girls. I admire Yousafzai so much, and really am enjoying her book, which shares her message AND is as educational for a westerner about the ways American politics changed her valley and helped the Taliban along! We need to really think about what we make her into, and how that celebrity might obscure the other women who are being so brave every day, fighting for many issues all over the eastern world! (Thanks, by the way, for linking to my article about Yousafzai’s profile in Glamour magazine!)

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  2. On the web I did encounter also Muslim women who considered Malala as a by the West indoctrinated girl, our Western World uses to give a wrong idea of the Islamic world.
    Though they may be very wrong, either by misinformation on their site, it might frighten others to come to the forefront, because their actions could be interpreted also wrongly as a Western opposition move.

    In the midst of all this political ‘pulling’ there are the many people who are not concerned about politics as such, but who want a world worth living in.
    We also may not forget the many “unknown” little voices in the many small communities who are working hard to let the female voice be heard.

    Let us hope that they can keep the courage to continue their efforts though they might not reach the worldpress. Without such background work in the dark and unknown our world would not advance.

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