This week’s issue brought us one of those controversial articles on a controversial topic that is raised every now and again, especially during crisis periods. It’s about women work and the title of this article, written under the “shining looks (نظرات مشرقة)” section, is “Priority for men”.
As I expected, the author is a woman (Ms Afaf ANIBA), but I don’t know if it’s done on purpose. I mean it made me think of those who select a Macaw to criticise the parrots or a Wafa Sultan to criticise Islam; but I can’t tell for sure.
Her first argument is very usual: We are Muslim and Islam gives wardship (القوامة) to men over women who should naturally stay at home and seek their husbands’ affection and (financial) protection. This, we remember, was used by the FIS in the early 1990s. She also uses women’s important role in children upbringing to say that if the woman works then the next generation (and the whole country) would simply be lost. These two arguments clearly state that working women go against their nature and turn men into useless “females” and women into weird “males”.
The author also tells us that she doesn’t like to see so many unemployed men when women are filling all the jobs vacancies (although recent statistics show that women’s unemployment rate is still higher than men’s). Does it mean that if we had total employment, she wouldn’t really mind seeing all these “active” women?
This reaction is of course not typical of Muslims, and I think it’s shared by most conservative people all around the world as shown in the opposite figure.
But the “mentalities” have really changed in Algeria, and she admits it. Many Algerian men would indeed not marry a housewife because they want more money to come in the household, and having a job became a plus when looking for good marriage material women.
The author’s last two points are about the state’s politics which, according to her, don’t help the men in their quest for jobs (but does she mean that the state helps the women get jobs?), before claiming that many Algerian men are too lazy and have such a weak faith that they don’t try hard enough to get jobs.
I intentionally chose to not comment on the points she raised but I would like to say two things:
– I agree with her very last point which applies to many Algerian men.
– After writing a not-so-interesting article in a supposedly shining section, I wonder why Ms ANIBA doesn’t show the path by resigning from her job and letting a man have his chance.
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