Women of Today

Submitted by : Umm Talha on Muslim Woman

There she sits, nestled cozily in a chair,
What's happening around her, she's hardly aware.
Engrossed in a book, she looks up hazily,
Trying to make sense of the mystery.

Gazing at her, my heart melts and mind wanders:
What kind of world awaits her, it ponders.
As a female growing up in the 21st century,
Will her life be full of misery or tranquility?
Reality, however, refuses to allow any reflection,
And crudely points towards the actual situation.

Countless number are shunned into silence,
Through rape, torture and domestic violence.
She's a victim of an acid attack or honor killing.
She's caught up in the barbarity of female trafficking.
Illiteracy, dis-empowerment and insecurity
Is for millions a heart-rending reality.

If only women were so fortunate - we're told,
To be living in the democratic fold.
For isn't that where they have 'freedom'and 'rights'
To live purposeful lives and reach new heights?
A place where public participation's accessible to all?
Where there are set of rights protecting all?

Alas, behind this smokescreen created by the media,
And those obsessed by the democratic idea,
Lies a life-style full of confusion,
Where women's rights are a mere illusion.

It is in this free, developed world that we find,
A list that is dismal and one of a kind:
Of the top ten countries with the highest rape crime,
The first eight are 'working'democracies of our time.
The rise in domestic violence is here a certainty.
Take as an example, the land of opportunity,
Where one in four will suffer in her lifetime,
For being a woman, as if this was a crime.

There lies, too, an inconceivable hypocrisy,
In the guise of gender equality.
Women, who work and toil as much as men,
Come pay day, earn less than men.
Moreover, a woman's work is yet to finish,
For she has a home to look after and children to cherish.
In such a society, maternity leave is frowned upon.
Being mothers and carers is looked down upon.

Living a narrative with a slightly different text,
Are women of today, whether in the East or the West.
Their cry for emancipation is for all to hear.
Their desperate plea is all so clear.
Wanting change simply through democracy,
And wanting improvement through gender equality,
Is nothing but a product of an unconscious mind,
For it will be the case of the blind leading the blind.

What is needed is a change in the mentality,
Preventing men from treating women insincerely,
Where women are not viewed as objects to be abused,
But are seen as human beings with mind and views.

In the past, under the Islamic rule,
In contrast to its presentation as being cruel,
Men and women were seen as one in humanity,
Being essentially the same, spiritually and intellectually,
Having the right to engage in business and own property,
And seeking knowledge for the betterment of society.
Having a political voice was a woman's right,
Which included accounting the ruler with all her might.

History is replete with illustrations,
Of life under the Quranic traditions,
Where these rights were her way of life,
Achieved without struggle and strife,
Without compromising her inherent feminine nature,
As if men, by simply being men, were of superior nature,
For she lived under a different ideology,
Where imitation of men was not inbuilt in her psychology.

Sitting here, still gazing at my princess,
Overwhelmed I am with an acute awareness,
Of how life is for women of today,
And how life can be for them one day.
I long for the day to be near,
Where women live without fear,
Where they live in peace and security,
And are seen as valuable members of society,
Where exploitation becomes a distant memory,
Existing only in the realm of history.

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