A Woman’s Space…

Alhamdulillah, today was the first of my post operative check ups and it went with flying colors. I’ll see this doctor in particular again in six months! Yay! Got one more to go next week…

And as I write I remember reading this morning about the crisis there is in Yemen regarding health care for women. The article by a doctor, speaks of many underlying issues that impede women in Yemen from receiving timely, proper, and preventive health care; some of it with deadly consequences.

It also speaks about the level of education of the husband and the Law that can put a doctor in a moral and legal bind when it comes to treating women even in life and death situations; this lack that only compounds the society’s ills – at ground level they have yet to put, shall we say, two and two to make four. The Medical profession has its hands tied when it comes to treating women- it is not what is best for the patient- but what the husband wants. So much for the Hippocratic Oath!!!

This alludes to what Yemeni filmmaker,  Khadija Al-Salami says about not only the public but also inner, private space of Yemeni women, and how these spaces are so restrictive and confining that even their lives are put in jeopardy by the practices, prejudices; illiteracy and consequences the country suffers. Today, the discussion is still on the evils of women (Shakespeare take a bow); and the mind-boggling conversations men have about whether or not they should be marrying educated women. Even the arguments for and against are shallow and inane at best- because the focus is on sex; suspicion of domineering tendencies; acceptance or not of female friends for the husband and the all inclusive challenge to Yemeni male purview over all that breathes and occupies space in his household.

It could be that the one issue that may help alleviate the many atrocities in private done on women is the re-granting of that inner space- the hurdle for such to happen seems insurmountable. A massive re-education on Islamic law on what constitutes female space; their rights: The ability to decide  who and what to be; the right of a woman’s choice in marriage partner; when to get health care and what type of care; when to have children; when to stop having children; to have the right to an education that is not attached to what the very public male view wants to think needs be the place of women. Because at the moment public space and private space have slowly merged to such degree that I have encountered women who wear their hijab at home 24/7; in front of their blood relatives like their brothers, fathers and even their own sisters-because they are told that is what must be- by men of course…

And we mustn’t forget that women, mostly illiterate not only in letters but in knowledge of Islamic Law, propagate these atrocities on their daughters, sisters, and mothers.

I wonder what would happen to societies who believe to this day that its better to have boys than girls- would they accept in the near future a world where the population is dying because there are no women to give birth to new generations??? “The Children of Men” would take on a more sinister twist should something like this come to pass.

Can’t a woman have peace in her own home? In her own body? In her own mind? What is it about women that is so loathed; hated; despised and needs extermination? Does no one remember when Allah warns of the baby girl buried alive in the sand? Does no one remember that Allah promises paradise for the man who rears the best of daughters?


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