Photo credit: Flickr / Jess

You’re a woman, so..

We all know that human beings are supposedly born free – both men and women. But growing up in a society dominated by men makes the circumstances of being born a girl very clear. I can now see all the side effects of becoming, and being, a woman.

It is funny, because growing up, I used to hear relatives say ‘Well, you’re a girl,’ and I couldn’t understand what it meant. It meant that girls are to be blamed for being girls. This is was my breaking point, or maybe my realization point. It made me want to try to solve this mystery somehow.

I kept asking myself these questions: ‘Why are girls blamed for being girls? Why are girls told to think twice before going out? Why is there a limit on our dreams? Why are there rules placed upon the things we want to do?’

I refuse to grow up to be a woman who does what she is told, and who cannot dream big, because she was born to make sacrifices. I can’t bear people telling me that I am a woman so... As if being a woman was some kind of curse.

I speak as a Libyan woman. Maybe many other women in my country and beyond share these opinions. The question to ask is how can we remove the word ‘so’ from all the sentences.

We can only create change by raising women’s awareness about their rights. Men are not the only ones to blame for women’s situations in Libya. Unfortunately, some women are also complicit. Women mostly evaluate each other by marriage, as if it were the ultimate goal in life, and define women’s worth by their marriages.

To start this process, we need educate men and teach them how to appreciate women. They need to see that women are capable of making things happen. When men learn to treat women equally they will see women as more than baby-making machines. Only then will suffering women in Libya, and all over the globe, have better lives.