Thursday, October 6, 2011

Insha’Allah (God willing)

It was a Eureka movement for women not only in Saudi Arabia but women all over the world when Saudi King Abdullah declared that women in the Middle Eastern country will have the right to vote in municipal elections. Not only that, Saudi women will also be allowed to run in future municipal elections, and will be appointed as full members to the Kingdom's Shura Council, which is the King’s advisory board.

A pat on the back of King Abdullah who stunned the ultraconservative nation with a daring reform like this, that nobody ever expected for decades to come. Wish that, along with the right to vote, run for local office, and representation at the Advisory board, King Abdullah would also remove the ban imposed on women driving their vehicle. Recently the world was outraged when a Saudi court sentenced 10 lashes for a woman found driving her car. Well the King pitched in to overturn the courts order, but for how long can this go on? Hopefully with the recruitment of women in the Kings advisory board, this law would soon be scrapped, and women will be free from the bondage of being dependent on their drivers or male counterparts.

Reigning since year 2005, it must be really difficult for King Abdullah to make revolutionary reforms like this without upsetting conservative hardliners who oppose reform of any kind...sometimes even making women scapegoats of their prejudice. But this surely is a step forward in the right direction. In the rest of the world where women not only drive, but are also employed as drivers by car rental and public transport organisations, it is really difficult to assimilate this discrimination. Women make a huge contribution to society and it is women who can take up issues and causes concerning their lives and communities. The whole world welcomes King Abdullah’s decision of giving women the rights they deserve. But hope this decision last not only in King Abdullah’s supremacy but also for generations to come.

Since we are on the page of reviewing progress and development of women in different countries across the globe, it is very encouraging to know, how Australia has opened up their armed forces for women in combat roles. Australia joins Israel, Canada and New Zealand with this strategic move.

Even recently, the Indian army has broken this barrier by including the first woman in combat role. Although women have been a part of the Indian armed forces for a long time now, they are kept out from combative functions, being primarily recruited as officers in non-combat units. But recently 35yr old and mother of two, Sapper Shanti Tigga hit a sixer by outperforming her male colleagues displaying better fitness levels, better run timing, and better firing skills. The Indian armed forces couldn’t resists but recruit her in a combative role that Shanti was enthusiastic to join. With her dream of joining the armed forces coming true, Shanti credibly also won the title of being the first Indian woman recruit in a combative role.

With this credit in her name, Shanti has made the defence forces – army, navy, air force – to stand up and take notice of spirited and courageous women who believe in themselves and are yearning to join the defence forces on their own stem and strength.

Insha’Allah (God willing) that will also be thrown up to her very soon.

Post script:
Talking about women walking shoulder to shoulder with men in all walks of life, I don’t really think India should complain...because we can boast about so many women at the helm governing and making important administrative decisions for this country. Starting with Congress President, Sonia Gandhi and President of India, Pratibha Patil, to the Chief Ministers of four states – Jayalalitha, Sheila Dixit, Mamata Banerjee and Mayawati, among others.

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