Taroudant, Morocco - As International Women’s Day gets closer, my perplexity gets more complicated. My eagerness to dedicate something very special to women on the occasion of the anniversary of International Women's Day heartily increases.
Taroudant, Morocco – As International Women’s Day gets closer, my perplexity gets more complicated. My eagerness to dedicate something very special to women on the occasion of the anniversary of International Women’s Day heartily increases.
I wish I were a poet to give birth to an everlasting, rapturous rhyming ode; praising the woman who raised me with unconditional tender and care, giving thanks to the girl with whom I drank life from the same breast and also paying homage to the woman to whom I gave my heart with blessings of the Almighty.
If only my guitar skills were good enough to compose a soulful melody enfolding my devotion to these women. Yet, being unendowed with such lofty talents, I will try, hopefully to succeed, to bring into view the accomplishments and significant contributions of women to the prosperity of Moroccan society. Because the issue is so big as to be covered in an op-ed, I will highlight precisely some contributions of Moroccan rural women to the welfare of their communities.
Women have always had an influential role in the prosperity and growth of any community. In most patriarchal societies, though, women’s work is hardly regarded as being productive. Therefore, their work is belittled even though it is rewarding and demands great physical and mental efforts. Both men and women’s work are productive, but men’s work is given a higher value and rewarded financially and symbolically more. In Morocco in the regions to the Southeast, women often do the whole work, yet they are perceived to be the weakest components in the structure of the society.
Cooking for the family, breeding cattle, rearing children, making garments, pinning yarn, weaving, sewing and mending clothes are all daily tasks that fall within the scope and responsibilities of women. To accomplish these daily exhausting activities, they have to wake up at the crack of dawn. Worse, they ignorantly believe, or are made to believe that these kinds of work are part of their natural roles and obligations. Any complaint of the harshness of work is perceived by the women themselves as a disgraceful weakness and widely condemned by men.
Domestic work is all work provided by the family in order to meet the needs of its members. The burden of this work lies mostly on the shoulders of women, but it is not recognized as productive. Suppose that, if a family had to pay for others to take on these same chores, ones now done voluntarily by women, they would then notice just how big a sum of money would be required to cover the expenses of a cook, server, maiden and a farmer (to name but a few). Such a family would have to pay through the roof to keep all its members comfortable; but thanks to women, many families enjoy the services free of charge.
More than that, women are required to please their husbands, parents-in-law and their children. They have to devote their affections to their husbands, and secure them a relaxing psychological atmosphere even at the expense of their health. Women also are the ones who receive the anger of the husbands, their failures and frustration. They are blamed for not being able to give birth to a baby boy while, scientifically, men have the deciding gene with the Y chromosome. If a woman gets a divorce, again, she is to blame and consequently being reduced to the mockery of society even if it is not her fault.
I ardently advocate equality; however, I do not mean by equality that women are, or should be completely like men; but they must be treated equally. This means they are entitled to equal opportunities and value. Through equality, gender relations can be those of cooperation, communication and joint support. On a day like International Women’s day, let’s think of ways to help ease the burdens of the women in our lives, or at least thank them for the work they do selflessly for us.
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