Women's Rights

Over the course of several months, refugee, immigrant, and citizen student participants from Algeria, England, and the United States had the opportunity to take part in a dialogue concerning women's rights. Their dialogue took the form of writing, drawing, and video. Some of their work is featured below. To read an edited transcript of their conversation, click here.

When it comes to creating a political change for equal rights, women are definitely in the front line as they are the victims, in this case, of discrimination, objectification and basically inequality; and the first step that should be taken, in my opinion, is spreading awareness and educating women about not only their duties, but also their rights in order for them to claim them the right way, as their goal is to achieve a kind of equality with men and not superiority. 

I believe the biggest obstacle females can face is men pulling the “women are the weaker gender’’ card, which is correct. They are the weaker gender, on the physical level that is, but even then there are a couple of exceptions mind you. Other than that women can be very competent, creative and practical just as much as men can be. 

One example of women gaining power in Algeria, as far as I’m concerned, has to be the one and only Ben Ghebrit, our Minister of National Education since 2014. The woman controls the educational program of an entire nation without being able to complete a single sentence in proper Arabic due to the fact that she studied abroad, so she uses French instead, which sounds ridiculous to me. Not to forget her controversial ministerial decisions, because of which she is constantly being criticized. She’s a great example of women misusing their only chance to show how influential and powerful they can be, and it still amazes me how her being a woman combined with her wrong choices still didn’t affect her very important position in the ministry, which sheds light on how the whole topic of women’s power and equality is pretty messed up here in Algeria.

Concerning the objectification of women, I think it’s a very sensitive topic that has been appropriately covered by my peers, and considering that I was not necessarily a victim of a serious harassment or abuse before–at least not yet—I don’t think I can fully convey how hard and humiliating it must be, and I imagine it’s even trickier for men to completely understand even for those who support equality. Therefore I’d love to hear everyone’s opinions regarding the topic, men included.

Nardjes Gadabi

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To be yourself as a woman in a world that is dominated by the male population is very difficult. No matter how hard you work, how sincere your intentions are, you would never be given credit like men are. It is a sad fact, really. I acknowledge there are some tasks that a woman can't do, but what about those we are able to do? Sometimes we do the same job a man does, with the same number of working hours, the same outcome, but we still don't get rewarded or praised like the males, which is just unfair. Most men feel superior to women because they consider us weak and not intellectually equal to them. Men say the "fairer sex, the softer sex" like they are cursing us, branding us for something that, if looked upon from a different perspective, is actually normal, natural. As for harassment, women are always the ones who are blamed for this act. We are always the ones “at fault.” Even rape is regarded today as not that "important of an issue" anymore. I think the only way to solve all these problems of sexism and harassment is to treat it as a disease. It needs a diagnosis, prognosis, and preferably a cure. Some men out there can do with a dose.

I know and I 've heard of many examples of women being assaulted, harassed, or a victim of being abducted by some man in the street. Thankfully, at the time of these accidents, things did not get that bad and the women were rescued. The big part in these stories is that the women in question did not file or complain about anything to the police. Most of them could describe the assaulter perfectly, but they don’t because they are afraid. They know that the man in question can get back at her and do worse things and no one would be the wiser. We are, in some cases, really afraid of some men because they are physically stronger than us, and men know that and sometimes they use it against us because they know we, in most cases, can’t retaliate, especially when they give you that smirk which says, “I can hurt you woman, and you know it and I dare you to act on it." It is the bitter truth.

Nour Elhouda Belakhdar

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A woman is a series of words associated with love, tenderness and humanity. She is the mother, sister, daughter, aunt, wife and beloved. She is me. What about me in society as woman? It can be said that women have been, and continue to suffer over time because of the loss and neglected of their rights. I am a Muslim  woman, I live in a Muslim country and I wear a Hijab (scarf), but this not a reason to prevent sexual harassment. I cannot account how much I did face this type of attitude; I feel like I am a doll everyone wants in his spare time just to satisfy lust. So that is why I would hate to be married. In effect, women never forget what hurts them and one of the last commandments of the prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) before his death was about women he said, “be gentle with bottles”  Bottles are very easy to break like women, if they are broken it cannot be put back as it was before. Another point is we all know how our mother Eve came from our father Adam's rib. Most people take just take part of the story and reformulate it in their own way, in the way that a woman is a half, which means she is nothing without a man and thanks to man who allowed her to come in this life! Because of their  cognitive impairment, they also look at women as if they have half a mind, which means they are stupid. Really, who are you? You are nothing without her, you came from her in her womb, you are the person who lived in her belly for about 9 months and in her lap till now maybe! So she is not half or half minded but you are because you think about her like that. But tell me how we can teach persons who have intellectual disabilities to understand that women and men are equal in rights.

Badrane Fatna Ahlam

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Let me first start by introducing myself my name is Redouane Abir from Algeria, specifically from a conservative town called Djelfa.

Any topic that includes women is bound to be a controversial. As history started women were oppressed and marginalized by a patriarchal society, but now things are a bit different in terms of equality. Today women have the right to be educated, to have countless job opportunities, the freedom to choose what suits them without fear of being discriminated thanks to demonstrations that demanded equality despite the fact that our religion stated these rights ages ago; but the problem lies in the extreme feminism and this is where we are heading to. For me the role of women is not to be ahead of men, in other words it is not a matter of competition but rather a complimentary relationship. The idea should be corrected into the idea that differences between men and women existed to make a balance, allowing them to complement one another thanks to these differences.

Redouane Abir

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