Half the Sky


I can’t tell you how thankful I am for the opportunity I had as a young girl growing up to have been able to participate in sports.  I often find myself wondering what it must have been like for my father to go against everything that was being taught and give the gift of education and sport to his daughter.

You may have received a little glimpse into this struggle during this summer’s 2012 Olympics.  There was one of two female athletes from Saudi Arabia—whose participation in the games had everything to do with an ultimatum posed by the International Olympic Committee: send women athletes to London or face total disqualification. The Saudi government conceded.

However, this idea of playing sports modestly or not has brought about a clash of ideas that should cause all women to pay attention.

When I talk to my cousins and women living in the middle eastern countries I am saddened by the lack of opportunities regarding education and women’s health.   And, in my eyes there is no reason for it. We should know by now that there is a large and persistent association between education and health that has been well documented.

Almost everyone today in the United States is aware of the boundless advantages of being healthy; but people should also know that Islam also encourages us to take care of our health and body. Actually, physical strength can be seen as a direct result of strength in belief.

It may not seem obvious to some but the amount of money that exists in the Middle East is astronomical given the vast amount of natural resources.  According to economic theory a country’s national wealth and the education of its population are highly correlated. Meaning that education should be readily available – right?

Wrong.   The truth of the matter exists with the example set by Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani girl who is one of the world’s most persuasive advocates for girls’ education.

And, on Tuesday, masked gunmen approached her school bus and asked for her by name. Then they shot her in the head and neck.

These events coincide with the first international Day of the Girl, and they remind us that the global struggle for gender equality is the paramount moral struggle of this century.

 “It is a war between two ideologies, between the light of education and darkness.”

The freedom and opportunity that we have as American Women to learn how to take care of my OWN HEALTH is priceless.  And the power that comes with the ability to decide for ourselves can be easily taken for granted if we are not consciously aware.

I’m not sure what to think these days.  I definitely believe in the notion of modesty but what does modesty have to do with the rest of the issues at hand?

God entrusted each of us with a body.  A body constructed to divine, precise and accurate design.  We might not like it  But both men and women have their OWN so that they can participate in Life.

But, according to a recent Euromonitor report; women in the Middle East and Africa are worse off than women in other parts of the world in virtually every indicator!

However, oddly in the most powerful country in the world (USA), and with the most critical election of our history at our fingertips; Both Campaigns Want Tonight’s Female Presidential Debate Moderator to Shut the Hell Up?

Gender equality is a basic human rights issue. Human rights are the rights that are inherent to all human beings, orinnate to being human.  These rights do not need to be granted by the state to exist.

The idea that women are equal to men and that they should enjoy the same rights may seem obvious to many in today’s world, but human rights often need explicit protection and promotion by law to be realized.

Education is the key to gender equality.  The impact is felt not only in women’s lifetimes, but also in the health, education and productivity of future generations.

Women’s bodies should not be used as a vehicles to create war.

After all, “Women Hold Up Half the Sky”

Live and Learn. We All Do.

Thanks for reading. Please pass this on to someone who means something to you.

About julia29

Hi. My name is Julia El-Haj. I am a Hall of Fame Athlete, an MBA, Professional Certified Marketer, Certified Youth Fitness Trainer, a Specialist in Sports Nutrition and a licensed Real Estate agent. I gave up my "seat at the table" to be home with my 3 children because that's where I was needed most. I blog about everything with Wellness in mind.
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4 Responses to Half the Sky

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