Freedom and Privilege

I read a recently published article, which was written By Tracey Shelton and Omid Sobhani. It stated that mother’s in Afghanistan are now legally able to have their names on birth certificates.

I was astounded. Not because it is now allowed, but because it hadn’t been previously. Reading further, I discovered that women in Afghanistan, up until now had not been allowed to have their name on any legal document. They were not even known by their own names, but by the name of their closest male relative.

We take a lot for granted, living in Australia. As strange as it may sound, WW2 actually saw a big jump in women’s rights, and equality. With so many ‘able-bodied men’ in the armed services, women stepped into many of the employment roles left vacant. Proving that they were as capable as the men they were replacing. Many of these women enjoyed their new roles, and the associated freedom. When peace was declared, and the servicemen returned to Australia, these women did not want to ‘return to the kitchen’. They had seen, first hand, that life had much more to offer, and had proven themselves more than adequately able to handle the challenges presented. In a sense, this sparked a revolution. It even started to not be terribly shocking if a woman wore trousers, rather than a dress or skirt. 

Our foremothers fought hard towards equal rights for women. There are still gaps that women and men are fighting to close. I feel very lucky though that we are not subjected to the same gross inequalities women in other countries live with every day. According to various sources, there are still a number (of men) in Afghanistan who are arguing against women having the right to their own names.

Regardless of your gender, race, sexual persuasion, age, religion, or any other factor that is too often used to judge a person, could you be happy to live like that? 

I hear about ‘privilege’, often referring to ‘white privilege’ or ‘white male privilege’. Because I have worked hard for everything I have ever earned, or achieved, it never occurred to me that I am ‘privileged’. I thought that nothing had ever just been handed to me that I hadn’t earned myself. Yet, reading this article, I suddenly understood that I do have privilege, as does every other person living in Australia, and similar countries. Yes, there are inequalities across a number of sectors in Australia, but I don’t believe that these are anything like the laws forced on the women mentioned above.

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