Inside the Middle East
March 9, 2009
Posted: 1023 GMT

Conceived in 1910, International Women's Day was recognized by the United Nations in 1977. Nearly 100 years old, the day serves as a reminder of the fields in which women must still battle for fundamental rights, and where they remain victims of violence and enduring inequalities. It marks an ongoing worldwide battle to ensure equal rights for half the globe's population on issues such as work, voting and abortion.

Turkish Kurd women hold placards reading 'Long live 8 March,' and chant slogans on International Women's Day on March 8, 2009 in Istanbul where more than 5000 women gathered to mark International Women's Day.


A Turkish activist woman chants slogans on International Women's Day in Istanbul.


Lebanese feminists hold a sit-in on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Beirut on March 8, 2009.


Lebanese protest against the abuse of foreign domestic workers on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Beirut on March 8, 2009.


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GLeigh   March 9th, 2009 2:27 pm ET

I'm 50. When I talked to my husband, recently, about women's issues., he reminded me that women here in the U.S. have not had "equal" rights all that long, and Europe. When I was in my teens and twenties, I ran across unfair stuff. I have a good sense of humor and laughed it off and patiently proved I wasn't stupid. But, I had a really dangerous stalker at 19. I called the police several times. That was before the "term" stalker and they called him a pain and didn't or couldn't do much. Weirdos do happen. Luckily I had a good friend who dealt with it after six or eight months of being bothered. I was afraid to tell the men in my family, afraid they would get in trouble. This person moved, quickly on a bus. So I think men and women should be supportive of women who just want to drive a car and be helpful to others and patient of those who are not ready for this step.

GLeigh   March 9th, 2009 2:50 pm ET

Something else that is eye opening, or at least to me. Women got to vote in 1919. Less than twenty years later, we had nukes, 1940's. It was a decade later before we had "color" TV, 1950's. How strange is that?? My kids grew up on cable with many channels. Of course, when they were little they watched my mom wash dishes in the sink because that was weird to them. Dishwashers. But I do find it odd that we had nukes before color TV.

World traveler   March 9th, 2009 9:02 pm ET

The oppression of women and the way women are treated by the Arab world will not be tolerated any more. It is so good to see that women are finally standing up and taking back their dignity.

Bill   March 10th, 2009 1:17 am ET

I fully support women's rights, especially in cultures where they are mistreated, treated like property, forced into marriage when they are still young children, and/or sexually abused. Some backwards cultures only value male offspring.

I wonder what the mid-east would look like if women were 100% equal with men. Women, the bearers of life, are more likely to value life than, say, Islamic terrorist groups, who value only death, violence, and destruction.

Professor   March 10th, 2009 1:40 pm ET

Bill and Worl traveler,

Women are not treated equally anywhere in the World even in the US and Israel. Go ask your ex-president Moshe Katsav.

GLeigh   March 10th, 2009 4:14 pm ET

I do think women in the U.S. are treated equally with men. I don't know about Israel. Of course there are individual cases. Some men still hit women in the U.S., which is illegal. But, I've heard of cases where women hit men too, which is also illegal. In some isolated areas there is still that macho, macho attitude, but women can ignore it. I've done it several times. Nothing is ever perfect.

GLeigh   March 10th, 2009 4:16 pm ET

And, I know that men sometimes do horrible things. I also know that sometimes women lie and get innocent people into trouble. It's about fifty-fifty, like most things.

Professor   March 10th, 2009 7:38 pm ET


Obviously, you are blinded by your ignorance... Women in the US don't get equal pay for the same jobs they do as men get. Ask anyone and they will tell you that.

There was a big report on it on CNN few days ago. Go do some research before you show your ignorance on this blog.

Simone   March 10th, 2009 8:48 pm ET

International Women's day has all the promises there is for women. On equal terms to work, write and educate themselves. Flawless future is about stepping out and going work; not at all being locked behing doors. Yes, "Long Live 8 March".

World traveler   March 10th, 2009 9:00 pm ET

Women is America have the right to defend themselves, unlike women in the Arab world who have no protection.


In America and Israel, they don’t flog and imprison 70 yo women for being in a house with unrelated men.

In America and Israel, they don’t flog and imprison women who are gang raped.

In America and Israel, they don’t imprison women for driving a car, unless she did not have a drivers license or was driving while drunk.

In America and Israel, women can have a job regardless if the pay is not equal to that of a man.

In America and Israel, women who are beaten by their husbands have the right to defend themselves from that type of abuse.

These are but a few examples of how women are treated in the Arab world.

I have noticed that you at times as well indicate our ignorance, but in this blog we are free to express our opinions, which have nothing to do with facts.

In America and Israel, like many other countries, women are abused and not treated properly, but at least in America and Israel women have the right to defend themselves, and to be treated with dignity, a luxury not afforded to them in the Arab world.

GLeigh   March 12th, 2009 2:10 pm ET

Prof – I wrote you back since you wrote to me. Refer to "In Pictures: Syrian Lingerie." I'm curious.

I've worked for years. There was a pay scale for each job, and I knew my pay scale. Men were paid by the same scale. Yes, I'm sure that there are inequalities. America was formed on ideals. Only now, are we seeing some of those of ideals reaching formation such as equality. But, we keep trying, painful as it is for some. Is is ignorant to strive for equality and ideals or is it a search for goodness and truth? Depends on what you want I figure. Some only want death and destruction.

Professor   March 12th, 2009 10:31 pm ET

World Traveler,

What world do you live in?.... Any woman in the Arab world can defend herself by hiring an attorney.... just like what an american woman will have to do to defend herself.

There gotta be some more to this story... I cannot believe that the governments in the Arab countries are going around people homes and checking who is in there and at what time and what is everyone relation... Come on give me a break.... Come down to earth.

Professor   March 12th, 2009 10:32 pm ET


I agree with you... that what Israeli wants just death and destruction to the Palestinian life and properties.

GLeigh   March 13th, 2009 2:04 pm ET

Prof – I had a very close friend, from an Arab country move to another Arab country. His mom had a few college degrees and was a teacher. In the new country, she had to take a taxi to work or have her husband driver her. He told me that it freaked her a little. It would me too. Nothing much surprises me anymore. House searches? Who knows. I'm not there. I hope you get over your Israel, hating thing. It seems harmful in many ways.

Professor   March 13th, 2009 10:51 pm ET


I know people here in the US who drive their wife to work... I know others who take a taxi to work.... what is wrong with that?

GLeigh   March 17th, 2009 1:21 pm ET

Prof – I guess the difference is freedom. I have the "freedom" to ask my husband to drive me to work, the decades I did work. Never had to ask. He did ask me a few times because of various reasons, he likes the big vehicles which break down more often it seems, but I was glad to help out. Had to get up extra early. So I guess the real thing, to me, is that I'm a partner and not someone who gets ordered around. That's important to me. Perhaps it's a hard thing to grasp, some don't seem to mind it, but I do mind it. I would last five minutes in a ME country that bosses women, or so everyone tells me. I tell them no, that I could adapt to anything – but it would be really tough.

GLeigh   March 17th, 2009 2:51 pm ET

I will tell you a true story – full of stories, true ones. Back when we were young, the hubbie and I, we lived out in the country. He was from a northern city. Our first child, a boy, was months old, and we went for a walk on the street. Now there was a pack of wild dogs, dropped off and gone wild or wild, whatever, in the woods around, but it was outside the city limits so no one did anything about it. We had seen glimpses, but never them. So on this walk, to give me a break, the hubby pushed the baby carriage. Then, in front of us were over twenty dogs, lined up, blocking us and growling. Homeless and sad in a way, but threatening. And we had a new baby. So the hubby was a hundred pounds, 95 really, heavier and 10 inches taller and much faster and had the carriage. We were both in shock a few seconds. I've been around animals a lot. I told him to get our son away. He hesitated, and I picked up a big stick and told him that it was no biggie. He finally took off with the carriage. As parents, that what you do, help the babies. Well the dogs were aggressive, snapped, but I was loud and swiped at them and there was no attack. I think he felt bad later for leaving, but people, male and female, work together. I knew more about animals and he was stronger and faster. He's the male and protector, and protecting the baby was the big thing. So women are not helpless. To assume that is a big mistake, from personal experience. Peace.

Josiah Russell   September 29th, 2010 6:05 pm ET

there are lots of women issues that are mostly related to relationships and family-:~

Beautiful Women :   October 25th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

well, womens issues are centered on things which involves a woman's feelings.~'*

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