Women Stepping Out of the Shadows

Being a woman in the Third World is a challenge in itself; her status been molded over time by various patriarchal systems. Women are viewed as weak and dependent, incomplete on their own, submissive and subordinate. Although no family can survive without a woman's contribution to its creation and overall well-being, her role is dictated by a greater power: the man. Over the decades, a number of organized and spontaneous liberation movement, or perhaps more aptly described as "battles", have been launched by women and their sympathizers to improve their conditions as well as defy social roles designed patriarchies in power. This was a natural evolution of the women's awareness of their greater mission within the rising democratic lifestyle where individuals seek utmost equality and respect for their personal freedom. However, the results did not benefit all women. While some women are working to apply the "final touches" to their hard-won equality, many others are still struggling to throw off outdated social expectations that leave little or even no space for their quest for independence and inspiration. In Gaza, 'different' is synonymous with 'bad'. Many believe, and rightly so, that a smart woman can be a dangerous creature simply because she seriously threatens the very foundations of the kingdom of male dominance. Proper education gives women strength to break free from the chains designed to defeat her will to change. It is not new institution, policies or advanced mechanism that are most important determinants of change. Rather, it is the human soul and mindset that we must influence to see the desired effects. A people cannot achieve its dream of liberation until it also liberates each soul. This can only happen in a democratic society in which each individual enjoys the same amount of freedom regardless of his or her gender or religious belief, if any.