The era of suppressing women is collapsing

The era of suppressing women is collapsing

A new decision in Saudi Arabia allows women to choose whether or not to wear the headcover or the black abaya robe.

According to Prince Mohammad bin Salman, “The black abaya is not obligatory for women as long as their attire is decent and respectful.”

Women will also be allowed to drive cars beginning in June and it will be easier for them to establish businesses, join the army and go to concerts or sports events. Since progressive women’s rights were already granted in Turkey in the 1920s and the 1930s, it is natural for us to laugh at the developments in Saudi Arabia. For us, “decent and respectful clothing for women” means any outfit that the person wearing, finds decent and respectful. In fact, one can even wear an outfit that he or she considers indecent since no one has the right to intervene in someone else’s life. But it is obvious how things work in Middle Eastern countries. All lifestyle rules reflected in the legislation are based on the principles of limiting women’s liberty.

Women in Iran are also disgruntled. They have been involved in protests where they remove their headscarves in public, tie them on the end of a stick and wave them like flags. Even the most religious and conservative women support this protest.

Maybe the expansion in women’s rights is a necessity required by the new politics in Saudi Arabia, or maybe Iranian women remove their headscarves as a result of “provocation by external powers” as claimed by Iranian authorities. However, there is one reality: Women will continue to ask for more equality and freedom! And societies that do not provide women with what they ask for will not even be able to take one step further.

It is not possible to sustain this order, especially in an era when we can instantly talk to someone who lives on the other end of the world and the concept of borders has become lost in terms of many areas, including social media and trade. Above all, women, who are granted the necessary rights, would not like to travel to those countries or have business there. This means losing half of the civilized world!

What is the ‘civilized’ world?

Tina Fey is an American comedian, writer and actress. When she wrote the TV series “30 Rock” and starred in it in 2006, the American media described it as a revolution. “For the first time in the history of American TV, a woman has written her own series and starred in it on a channel that broadcasts nationwide!” they said. I was shocked when I read that since it had been 2.5 years since the series “Avrupa Yakası” (European Side) had started! We are talking about the United States, where the first television series was broadcasted in the mid-1950s—decades before our country!

However, recently following Tina Fey, women writers, directors or producers have become more dominant in the American entertainment industry.

Sexual harassment incidents were voiced by the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements in Hollywood, which spread throughout the whole country. The movements received support from the whole world, including Arab countries.

Last year, a woman was fined in Amsterdam after peeing on the street. After that, thousands of women took to the streets protesting the abundance of pissoirs for men and the inadequacy of toilets for women on streets.

When a woman was asked about the purpose of her presence in the protest, she said she wanted equal rights for men and women, and added that her grandmother had been in the same square 60 years ago to advocate for women’s right to wear trousers.

So, it is clear all these bans have been imbedded in history and women always win.

I feel we are entering an era in which women are in the driver’s seat, are asking for more, are dominant in the business world and get stronger. It is also an era in which any governance that cannot catch up with this, that does not grant women rights, freedom and equality and that cannot protect women from violence or murder, will not be able to survive for a long time.

All politicians must watch their steps, because the opposition is quite big: Half of the world!

Gülse Birsel, hdn, Opinion,