In contribution to the debate on women’s rights, marked this week as part of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Monday, 25 November, the National Centre for Translation (NCT) offered new copies of its Arabic edition of the Michele A Paludi book, “Feminism and Women’s Rights Worldwide: Heritage, roles and issues.”
The original English text came out in 2009. The Arabic edition that the NCT issued late last year in cooperation with the original publisher, Praeger, allows the Arabic reading audience to access a thorough debate on the socio-historic significance of feminism on the everyday lives of women, and men for that matter.
The 12 chapters that come in at over 300 pages offer an effective summary of the many aspects of the feminism debate, including basic questions about the real meaning of feminism as a function of promoting justice and ending gender bias, rather than stereotypical clichés of promoting female superiority and calling for the sidelining of men.
The authors who contributed to Paludi’s book share their views on the impact of the "lack of feminism" on matters like education, economy, politics, and the role of women in the religious and military institutions.
They also examine the impact of this "feminism-deficiency" on the failure to stand up to end all types of violence against women, including sexual violations, and deprivation of equal opportunities and rights.
The chapters of the book defy the fallacy that women are weaker creatures than men by reminding readers that boys and men are often afforded more privileges throughout their lives: they have access to better nutrition, better education, more job opportunities and certainly better pay, and much less harassment.
It would be unfair, the book argues, to compare women to men without offering both equal opportunities and indeed equal representation.
Worse still, the book argues, women have to face more challenges than men: they have to surmount their sexuality which is often used to undermine their capacities; they have to prove that they can live up to job expectations while not overlooking their assumed "home and maternity duties"; and they have to be convinced of their worth and to convince societies of their abilities to deliver, especially if they subscribe to ethnic or religious minorities or if they are physically challenged. Men never have to go through most of this, or even any of it.