I regard my article on Non-Combat PTSD, my poem, and my short story as my best “published” work to date. However, I sometimes include my undergrad take on the April 2000 Salon article about international differences of gender equality. At the time, I did not understand feminism as much as I do now. But I put a well enough effort. I have written a more cleaned-up and updated version of that article down below.
Note: At the time, I put former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff in a positive light, not knowing of her impeachment.
Laura Fraser’s Casablanca article in Salon reveals an ethnocentric view that women feel oppressed in the Muslim world. Before her visit, she believed that women in the western world had more freedom than women in other places. Her experiences afterward showed her that this was not truly the case. However, the last paragraph of her article made one straightforward fact. Almost all women from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds suffer from the double standard of ambition as negatively viewed.
The “glass ceiling”
In patriarchal societies, the “glass ceiling” prevents women from progressing to the same level as men. Some consent to this limitation, while others aim to break through it. Those who choose the latter face scrutiny from their superiors and peers. They perceive these “corporate ladder climbers” as overly aggressive, akin to a Hilary Clinton. This is a perception that not only comes from men but also women. If they are willing to continue the climb, they have to “own” that façade of ambitiousness. Women such as Theresa May, Angela Merkel, and Dilma Rousseff may have more nurturing sides. They reserve it only for their family and closest friends.
Another fact that Frazer expanded upon was the global issue of violence against women.
Violence against women and the global gender gap
Participants of the Fourth World Conference in Beijing focused on attempting to combat and eliminate this problem. One major component was honor killings, where women were blamed for their own rape and executed as a result. While most prevalent in developing nations in the global South, other issues such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, and human trafficking still exist in the more “developed” countries. When it comes to this problem, the media focuses their attention mostly on middle to lower-class families. Of course, that doesn’t mean those higher on the economic strata don’t feel its effects.
Although the world continues to close the gender gap, South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Arab states still lag. The Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, created in July 2010, attempts to deal with these matters. Through these organizations, we become more informed about the differences of women all around the world. But, independent journalists such as Laura Fraser bring up the commonalities that they share. It saddens me that much of what they share is negative, harsh, and violent. Perhaps one day, women’s issues won’t be as unsettling as it is today. I know it won’t be tomorrow, but someday.