Wednesday, October 17

Only in India

Unlike the funny forwards which you get in your inbox every now and then, displaying awkward photos from India. This one is so serious. Officially, India now has its All-Female Political Party!Yeah, I read it in the news this morning and was as surprised as you are. Finally, a political party whose members are only women. You can read all about it here and here.

The new political party is called "United Women Front"(UWF), and its leaders advocate equal rights for women in a country which has the second highest population in the world, 50% of which are females. They aim to provide a "clean" (word used by the UWF president) alternative to Indian male-dominated political parties. "Unlike other parties, we will not buy freebies and alcohol for voters," says United Women Front president Suman Krishan Kant.

I wish them best luck in their mission. However, thinking about going down that road freaks me out. We certainly need to have more female political power in Egypt. Members of the UMF complain that women in the Indian parliament are only 8.8% According to this, we should really be ashamed of our 2.9%. But the thing remains that allowing different groups to adopt seperate political agendas is not the best way to fix problems. It's a huge mistake. If women can have their own political party, then we can't deprive the Muslim Brotherhood from having their own, for instance. We will be creating fractures according to gender, race (Nubians and Beduins will rush to that too), and religion. The spirit and essence of equality would be lost forever. We'll be creating a new and more complex web of hierarchies.

It's not only about the number of women participating in political decision making, it is most importantly a question of effeciency. If women are merely used inside the parliament and ministries as decoration, then more decoration will just add more shame. Because those women who would be supposedly "in power" would draw a negative example of female ability for action. So, yes, I dream of the day when women would occupy 50% of the parliament seats, a true percentage that would then reflect their active participation in all aspects of life. But I wouldn't like it to be through a political conflict.

There should be more active women organization. Their work should be felt. They should reach out for all women, all ages, all standards. We don't need any more decoration. We don't need any more sweet talk about the status of women and how they are honored. We don't need Mothers' Day when workplaces don't offer a daycare service for the children of their female employees. We don't need the roses in Valentine, when we are throne with spears from men staring at us and harassing us in the streets. We want to be respected as we deserve to be. Political parties can't buy us that.


Dr. Eyad A. Harfoush said...

I have already commented on the other site, but where is this week's article ?? :)

Anonymous said...

r u lesbian
please answer honestly

Fantasia said...

this was posted on Wednesday, so it hasn't been a week yet. Will post another soon.

Fantasia said...

NO. Do you count every woman searching for her rights a lesbian? Go see a shrink.

Miss Egyptiana "Trapped Soul" said...

Dear Fantasia...
i am sorry for being away, life was taking me ... but finally i am here reading your lovely post

i have two comments on this issue, if you allow me:

- I don’t think that having women political party is against the essence of equality; or would raise the idea of having different parties based on religion, or race… we are not worst than India which has hundreds of races, religions, and tongues… it is different here, for we are looking for a political push to enforce some of our rights

Though, I don’t think it will work here in Egypt, but if it was in the form of association, or organization, it would be more effective, and we would spare ourselves going through the long political procedures

Why till now there is no effective women organization??!! which work to enforce our independence in all matters!!! I wouldn’t know … although other associations like resala for example are doing fine and have many branches all over Egypt …

it is not different, we need an organization to empower women, and help them in their course of life .. make them independent and able to have a good life… it is not money, it is will … don’t we have the will to do so ?

I wonder

The second point, I have been working in the government for 8 years now… and guess what !!! it rests on the shoulder of women … women productivity is far beyond men's… they are more serious and devoted to their work, unlike the picture of traditional female civil servant

Sorry for being talkative.. and thanks for the great post

The Alien said...

i do not think that this is what women need in Egypt. having more political power is not going to happen by making an all-female political parties and this was not the way it happened in Europe or USA. also i do not think that there are any all-male political parties.

as u said, we do not need more decoration. when women take all their rights and when we understand that it is all must be about effeciency then we will have powerful women who will practice policy.

Fantasia said...

Dear egyptiana,
It's great to see your comment lighting up my screen again. Life is taking us all, but we shouldn't give in to that. Wanna see you more frequently here and over there at your blog too.
Unfortunately, in Egypt we don't yet have any kind of a serious women networking. Women working in the political or social fields have got no idea about the women movement and do not aim to participate in any sort of feminist activism.
Unlike organizations working in the field of charity, women organizations need to be strong in order to have serious goals and work on them. There is no effort in convincing people to donate for charity. Yet, convincing them to promote women rights is a totally different story. Women NGOs in Egypt are operating in the same way charitable organizations are operating. That's why there are absent. Their agenda doesn't involve empowering women, they gather charity for widows and financing female handcrafts as a source of extra income for poor families.
The one and only organization that has a political power is the National Council for Women. Its power is driven from its president, who is Egypt's first lady. So, you can't be surprized when they issue statments criticising a TV series for showing a long scene of rape, which according to their speaker "would harm Egypt's reputation".
The reason why this council is such a failure is that it operates up-side-down. It has a higher authority than the legislative institutions in the country, so its resolutions are dealt with in the form of higher orders. The society remains the same, because they didn't witness any real movement that touches their lives.
Now remains the question: Are Egyptian women serious enough about fighting for their rights?

Fantasia said...

Welcome back. You know that I too am against such kind of parties, but I can see the reason why they are being thought of in thrid world countries. Unlike the US and Europe who have got their strong women movements, third world countries can wait for eternity until their women reach their rights. That's why some governments have thought about interfering, to speed things up because it all contributes to the development of their countries.
Egypt used to have a fixed quota for women MPs, but then it was cancelled for being unconstitutional.
Indian women had very good reasons to step up and force their political presence in the hope that would serve to achieve equality.
Therefore I believe, in Egypt, having a strong a dedicated women organization would be a better alternative.

اجندا حمرا said...

dear fantasia

thank u for the links

while reading your post,i came to the part when u said it is not about the number of females participating and then i read the effeciency
yeah u r right dear,u can attract lots of women but when it comes to taking action ,only few participate and success depends on performance and taking action instead of numbers

cause we can attract lots of women but when we start talking about action,they freak out sometimes because it sounds something new to them and u know everything unknown we fear at first

i wish more women will take action and know their rights and never allow someone to take them for granted

thank u fantasia for the strong posts and the great messages u always deliver through your writings which i love so much:-)

اجندا حمرا said...

after taking your permission fantasia i would love to ask that anonymous why he considered u a lesbian?he asked u to answer him honestly and i would love him to answer me honestly too
why every strong woman in the man's eyes considered to be a lesbian ,he is asking as if being a lesbian is a curse or an insult

sorry fantasia but i was annoyed when i read his comment

Fantasia said...

dear agenda,

it is a sorrowful fact that women are not enthusiastic about action as much as they are enthusiastic about ideas. they fear any active participation, especially when it involves a challenge or facing opposition. they may hate the traditional view of women, but they are not ready to do something to change it. worse even, they don't want others to know that they are against what is traditional.
i don't blame them much, though. the majority of girls are raised in fear, and it will be very difficult for them to break away from it. i just wish they can search enough to find the strength that society buried inside them, forcing it deep down under so many layers of fear. once they find it they will never hide behind fear again.
i'm so sorry you had to read the silly comment that annoyed you. i was annoyed too, but i had to let him know that it is a question that people can answer. (i always delete comments which have insults or bad words, he probably thought i would delete that one too.)there's nothing wrong with living your private life the way you want. it certainly is nobody's business. and it has nothing to do with which ideas you believe in. i can be so conservative and traditional and be a lesbian or vise versa.
those people need to grow up and realize which world they are living in. it's the year 2007 and humanity have gone past discrimination based on sexual identity. in today's world, no intellectual person finds homosexuality to be a stigma.

yet, that's the way people are. they always want to push your buttons to see how far you can go. i decided not to entertain those people (by getting angry), but teach them. maybe they can change.

"When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid" - Audre Lorde