Thank you for reprinting this article. The situation Amena Raghei describes exactly mirrors what happened in Germany about sixty years . . .[restrict]ago – and my personal CV as well.
In 1949, when I was nine, the Parliamentary Council adopted the Basic Law and stated: Men and women shall have equal rights. In the Council there were only four women out of 65 members and they had to convince the majority that it was not enough only to grant the right to vote, (which actually had been granted already by the former Weimar Constitution). Nevertheless, it took ten more years until fully legal equality was established by the reformed German Civil Code.
And it needed even more time until the concept of equal chances for girls had reached the families. When I was 16 and told my parents that I wanted to study and work and have a family, my mother’s response was: “Well, if your husband is willing to employ a housekeeper for you …”
However, the development that started 1949 with the constitution became irreversible. Looking back, there was one event which for me personally was the most important one: in 1953 our school started to have coeducation in the classroom. How came this? For the simple reason that the number of boys in our age group was twice as large as that of the girls. They couldn’t manage it anymore without mixing the classes.
One generation later, my two daughters both are working and have families with children. We all have partners, who regard this as the most normal thing in the world. By helping to bring up the grandchildren, my husband and I also have a pleasant job after our retirement. I am really happy and thankful for that positive development. However, I’ll never forget: it didn’t come from the base, from the changing mind of the people, but from the ruling authorities. Top down, not bottom up!
So it will hopefully be in Libya.
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