Overcome, Conquer, Win

Zara Samy, 12A

It is the 21st century, yet women carry on fighting all over the world for an equal society. Why? It is because the cause for which we are striving for is still not understood. The question of why women’s day should be celebrated is often presented due to this very reason. It is celebrated to acknowledge the sheer amount of work numerous women have put in to inspire and change the status of women over the past years, from the most renowned to those who brought even the smallest of changes.

It is true that women’s positions are far from that of the past, but it does not mean the inequality has been eradicated. Women to this day are underrepresented, underpaid, undermined compared to men. It is absurd to think that as of 2018, only 32% of national parliamentarians are females. While this may be in improvement from 1995 when the figure was 11.3%, but it is evident that the progress is slow and simply not enough. Even suffrage was legalized in 1893 in New Zealand for the first time, but it was not universal as Saudi Arabia granted suffrage for women as late as 2011. It still occurs in the educational sphere, where 62 millions girls are denied education worldwide. Moreover, one in five women on U.S. college campuses have experienced sexual assault as per the AAUW, which indicates that the inequality is occurring at a global scale.

According to WHO statistics, on average, 30 percent of women who have been in a relationship have experienced some form of physical or sexual violence by their partner. Also, women around the world aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malariaThese issues would not be in the limelight had it been tackled from the very first stage of socialization.

Our target now should be to remove this deep rooted idea of discrimination due to gender in order to be able to dismantle this system from above. This can only begin in our homes, where one is mostly influenced. It is not only our responsibility as women, but rather of men as well, to ensure equal treatment of both genders without discrimination for without this change, a nation cannot progress.

“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.”
-Michelle Obama

War Song

Aishath Sara, 12 A

“Que sera, sera
Whatever will be, will be
The future’s not ours to see,
Que sera, sera
What will be, will be…”

Years ago and even now,
Those verses echo through sun and snow,
Disguised as the phrase, “Ignorance is bliss,”
But it’s only a phase behind deceptive veils.

So dear little girls, please wake up.

Those verses that were once your lulling lullaby,
Will soon be what haunts you during day and night.
And all that seemed to bring peace to your mind,
Will cease to be means of bidding fears goodbye.

Dear little girls, please listen up.
Sooner or later, you’ll hear the bells toll,
Cracking the silence of our force-fed roles,
Marking the beginning of the masquerade’s fall,
And us women must unmask for the curtain call.

Dear little girls, please stand up.

From helpless days of floors strained against knees,
To selfless days of fulfilling their needs,
The road to freedom may seem a faraway dream,
Treated and seen as the lesser breed.

Dear little girls, please chin up.

With a tender affection towards the softness of the world,
And a cold hard shell against the sharpest of swords,
A veteran of wars and conscripted old roads,
Revere your self-worth and rescript your role.

“Que sera, sera…”
What will be –
we redeem.

 

Challenges Women face in Society

Aishath Saba, 10A

Lack of education of women is very clear in the world due to social issues, problems and restrictions against women. This applies especially to women who belong to lower and middle class families, who suffer more than the women of higher classes. Women in society face problems of discrimination, lack of access to education, gender wage gap, violence, etc.

Gender discrimination against women starts at birth. Gender lines are drawn early, and ostracism for women continue throughout adulthood. From the moment we are born, both boys and girls are subject to stereotypes. Challenges in the form of discrimination for women begin in childhood as young girls may be brought up to believe that they are only suited for certain professions or, in some cases, only to serve as wives and mothers. Even though there are more men than womenstarting businesses, there are more women in the workforce. Men are dominating industries that are often seen as “female.”

Moreover, in many jobs women are paid less than the men — even if the woman is in a higher position than her male coworker, she is paid less because of the simple fact that she is a woman. In school, girls are more likely than boys to be discouraged from participating in sports, and clubs like debate, math, and science. Instead, they are more often encouraged to participate in after-school volunteer work, social programs, and more passive activities. Upon reaching adolescence, women are often encouraged, or even pressured, into pursuing higher education in stereotypical female-oriented professions, like teaching, nursing, caregiving, retail, and office administration.

Many women around the world do not have the privilege of attending school. Much of this is because of poverty, but a lot of that also has to do with gender discrimination: discouraging women to get educated and expecting them to stay home and take care of the children and the household. In essence, doing more expressive roles, since seeking jobs, getting educated, and being in powerful positions is not considered “womanly” in society.

With increasing numbers of women joining the workforce, being in a job is source of satisfaction for many who have been advocating women empowerment and, there is no denying that the trends in the society have changed considerably in the favour of women. However, these working women do double or triple shift as they are expected to work, take care of the household, and then take care of their families as well — the latter especially because childrearing isn’t considered a “man’s” job. Due to this, society pressures women to leave their work and stay home — something that eventually happens in a lot of cases, where women have to leave their jobs, either because they’re pregnant or married.

Violence against women is another worldwide issue. About 270,000 women and girls are victims to rape of sexual assault. Women suffer from domestic violence, which is very often carried out by men against women.

 

Why Should We Celebrate Women’s Day?

Fathimath Rayya, 12A

What is Women’s day? According to UN’s definition, “It is a day when women are recognized for their achievements without regard to divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political.”

Now, you may wonder: why celebrate women’s day? Why is it so important to spend one entire day focusing on women? Well, Women’s Day should be celebrated because, as Michelle Obama once stated, “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” It should be celebrated as it is vital to recognize the role played by woman on a daily basis.

Women are the backbone of the society. They are warriors who fight battles everyday as they have been oppressed for centuries by almost every institution in the society; whether it’s family, political and economic system, religion or even education. Women continue to face inequality in different forms, from language and media, to the workplace. They are the ones who have fought for years, and continue fighting for equal rights, equal pay and equal treatment. They are the people who face glass ceiling, triple shift or dual burden. Yet, they are the most resilient.

Women’s day should be celebrated to recognize their power. To recognize their strengths. Women’s day should be celebrated to honor the work that they do, whether they are a housewife or a politician. Women’s day should be celebrated to end the stereotypes surrounding women regarding their occupation, strength and what not. It should be celebrated to end all obstacles they face that stops them from achieving their goals. It should be celebrated to ensure that future generations of women have better life chances and opportunities without facing gender Inequality.

Lastly, Women’s day should be celebrated to commemorate influential and empowering women who fought and continues fighting to uplift the status of women; such as Susan Anthony, Simone De Beauvoir to Michelle Obama, it is important to recognize their fight against the patriarchy.

Therefore, it is important to note that our responsibility as women is to empower one another plus act as a united front against all discriminations and double standards we face. We must work together to create a society with individuals that does not look down on others based on their gender, ethnicity or religion where everyone has equal opportunities and rights. As Sheryl Sandberg once stated, “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.”

This can only be achieved if we #PressForProgress

Her Revolution

Aishath Noorain Jiyad, 10B

her sleep was his toy and his, her haven
with no one to sing him lullabies
fatigue was one she could not afford
and it was love, how he fell asleep
to a voice so ruptured, a song with no rhythm
but a certain love was reason for a closet filled with only her clothes
and a cold bed with just one pillow
having dinner with empty chairs
and just two shadows by one lamp
her excuse? she couldn’t afford to throw away a perfectly good chair
and so she found bitterness
falling asleep to wet pillows and dirty sheets
even a damsel in distress in her dreams
waking to her baby’s songs echoing within her four walls
while facing a leaking ceiling, and harmonizing with him
the sun seems sad most afternoons
and the paintings weep on her walls
how pitiful they say you could have been a piece of art instead
she couldn’t sit down with them ruining the walls
so her hands bled darker than them at the sound of torn canvases and broken brushes
how pitiful
her baby spend hours, missing his mama
how would he know she couldn’t face him?
hatred and resentfulness, she defined herself
with no ends met, a leaking roof, she called her dream the biggest joke
her body became one with the earth, her mind following suit
how selfish, to go along with her body
how selfish, to listen to something without its own consciousness
another morning came, on a cold floor
and where was her baby?
in her arms with his tear stained face
she looked down, ashamed of feeling abandoned
when the greatest miracle was right in front of her
she didn’t need a third in her home of two
and she didn’t need to leave the door open anymore
the only love she’d ever need was the one in her arms
sure her days felt longer and sleep was scarce
but the bed didn’t need to be cold anymore

A letter to all the women

Aishath Naishan Nashid, 10A

Dear Women,

This one is for all the women who have been told that they couldn’t do certain things because they were female. This is for all the girls who have given up on their dreams because they were told that it was not something a woman could ever reach.

This is for all the young girls who are pressured to act more ‘girly.’ Those who are brainwashed by the media to play with Barbie dolls because that is what girls are supposed to do. Little girls are not supposed to play in the mud and get their hair dirty. They have to wear pastel dresses and host tea parties. If you have not done that in your childhood, are you even a girl?

This is for all the women who have been objectified by society. For those who have been catcalled. When a woman is noticed by strange men on the streets, she should be happy, right? The hungry eyes and lingering stares from strangers should boost her confidence. The vulgar comments about each and every curve of her body should flatter her, right? Grabbing her and forcing yourself on top of her should please her, right? Because all women love a man who can take charge and assert their dominance on her.

This is for all the women who have been told to keep quiet when a man is speaking. Women who are told to swallow the words that are begging to be spilled out of their mouth. Women who are told to sit still and look pretty. A woman should never have an opinion; she should always agree with the man. Because a woman with an opinion is dangerous. A woman who knows that what she is talking about could be a threat to all men and their egos.

This is for all the women who have been forced to stay at home and look after their children. Women who spend their days making formula bottles for her baby when, instead, her dream was to become a scientist who tested chemical formulas. Women who spend their afternoons in the grocery store, browsing through the aisles, when in reality all she wanted to do was to run a food manufacturing company. Women who help their children do their homework because she never had the chance to complete her higher education. Women who sacrifice their life to look after her children in the hopes that one day, she will get something in return.

You are not weak. You are not an object. You are not powerless. Your opinion is important. You can say no. You can dream. You will reach your goals. And you will succeed. Being a woman  does not stop you from doing anything. Being a woman is something you should be proud of. It should be something you embrace. Being a woman is breaking the glass ceiling and proving society wrong. And we can do it.

 

Being A Girl

Malsa Maumoon, 11A

As a little girl,
My mother always reminded me of how lucky I was to be so,
And was taught to conform to the norm,
Pink attire,
Not blue,
Dresses and skirts,
No plaids or suits,
Remaining pure is the key,
Gaining independence,
Not for me,
“Dream big, go for it,”
They’d say,
“Stay home, clean.”
Actions convey.

So 10 years old,
And the boy next door,
Not a day older than me,
Played on the streets,
While I sat at home,
Watching away,
As elegance was the cliche.
“This is not luck,”
I would say,
“Being a girl is a curse, not a grace,”
Thoughts would portray.

Growing up,
Inequalities came alight,
Sexual harassment,
Day in, day out,
“Boys will be boys,”
They would say,
As he slams her against the wall,
And forcefully disregards her soul,
“Now, is being a girl so great?”
My mind would say.

But over time,
I came across
Stories of wonder,
Ideologies for the better,
A world where
Oprah, Rosa and Oakley,
Stood stronger than inequality,
The 21st Century,
When suffragettes claimed victory,
And feminism became the power,
With no room for repeat in history,
A day where
The hidden figures,
Were no longer concealed,
And with Oprah’s cries,
For a new day in the horizon,
I for once,
Gained hope that was lost before,
And was assured of the words my mother once spoke,
Of the luck behind the once loathed truth of being a girl.

‘Not All Men’: A PSA

Lyn Abdul Hameed, 12A

Public Service Announcement for men who consider themselves ‘not feminists, but egalitarians’: they literally mean the same thing. ‘Feminism’ isn’t a dirty word that you should be afraid to say. Being a feminist and being a man aren’t mutually exclusive. There is no need to treat it as such.  

Public Service Announcement for men who think feminism is not needed today because all women are treated equally now. Note that women walking alone on streets are still harassed more than men walking alone on streets. Note that female infanticide/foeticide is more rampant than male infanticide/foeticide. Unless you can attribute that to a reason other than patriarchy (and a fear of bringing girls into a patriarchal world), take several seats.

Public Service Announcement for men who think feminism is a joke: think of your mothers and mother figures. Think of the fact that you’re essentially saying it’s funny that they think they deserve equal rights as you, like it is outrageous and not at all normal. I mean, it’s none of my business if you want to disrespect the women who have raised you. Please, proceed.

Public Service Announcement for men who say that ‘not all men’ are patriarchal and degrading towards women: we know! For every woman who complains of constantly being harassed on streets and discriminated against in the workplace, there is one of you waiting to tell her that all men are not like that. Trust me, unless that person is an ultra-radical, they’d know that all men aren’t like that.

Public Service Announcement for men who consider themselves to be feminists: You have a far greater responsibility than your other counterparts to help in the fight for gender equality. Don’t pat yourself on the back for not being patriarchal, as if women should be grateful to you for not degrading them. Destigmatize the concept of male feminism. Use your privilege as men to help make the world a more inhabitable place for women alongside your mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and friends.

We Fight

Layath Ismail Husham, 8A

Swimming pools of tears have been shed, gallons of blood have been bled
But they are still prisoners of their own tongues
Help isn’t given, they’re shoved in boxes instead
They still hide beneath the covers, terrified because just one stir and they’re stung.
But underneath the darkness, there was a light so bright
It could burn a hole in my jeans
Child brides, moms who are teens
Women at work, all those on the streets
We are powerful and bold and phenomenal women
So they let go of the fatality, they clung on
Screamed out their stories and produced a spark
A revolution is about to start\
Years later we still haven’t given up
Make the sky bleed and fight from the heart
Fight for humanity and equality amongst us
Cause how we scream so loud, we cannot be hushed

Rosa Parks

Lakshmi Dipukumar, 11A

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African-American civil rights activist. She was called the “Mother of the Modern-Day American civil rights movement” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” She literally stood up against the racial discrimination of black people under the system of Apartheid.

Parks is best known for what she did in her home town of Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955. While she sat in a seat in the middle of the bus, the bus driver told her to move to the back of the bus so a white passenger could take the seat in the front of the bus. During this time, when there was no white seats for white people, black people were told to get up out of their seat. Parks refused to move.

She was a member of the local chapter of National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Like so many others, she was tired of being treated as a lower class person because of the color of her skin.

She was arrested. This led to the Montgomery bus boycott. The boycott lasted 381 days, causing a change in the law. After that, black people could sit wherever they wanted to on the bus.

Her refusal to let others treat her differently was an important symbol in the campaign against racial segregation.

The Heart to All

Jeena Hameez, 9A

A masterpiece of confidence and excellence
A mirror of strength and dignity
A soul of adventure and courage
A heart of love and gold
She stands with her head held high
In the presence of madness and chaos
She is draped with a cloak of roses
The thorns pricking her skin
She floats above the sea of pain and suffering
Like a piece of wood from a sinking ship
Although lost in a maze of obstacles and ranks
She climbs the mountain of expectations
Like a long lost queen returning to her kingdom
Do not forget the worth of a woman

A Message to All Men

Humam Ahmed Mujah, 12A

The year is 2018.

Mothers are still associated with cooking, laundry and other household chores. Fathers are born breadwinners. Segregated gender roles at a micro level still exist.

I sit and ponder and wonder: how do we change these internalized, indoctrinated thoughts? Spasms of inner hegemonic masculinity and mansplaining to the women in our lives still occur even without us realizing.

Everywhere around me at home I see the women performing the stereotypical roles. Even I sometimes do not realize that I contribute to the reinforcement and normalization of these stereotypes by getting frustrated at my own mother when there is nothing that I feel like eating at home. We should be appreciating the women in our life for the work they do. Paid or unpaid. Skilled or unskilled.

We men and boys are major contributing factors to the oppression and stereotyping of women. We need to rationalize and be more aware of our actions, especially for the ones who are being raised in a patriarchal family structure. No one is born a patriarch. It is the society, the people around us, that make us who we are. Every man should be morally responsible to use their rationality to understand and improve their behaviour — even if it’s the smallest of deeds, because even the most minuscule actions contribute to the grand scheme of the society.

Together, we can move forward to a gender equal society. For now, we must press for progress through our actions and words. #somemenarewithyou #pressforprogress