Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 2, Issue 35, Tuesday March 8, 2005







Woman, here's a song for you

"My Mamma says,
Lady ain't what she wears but What she knows," sings the enchanting young woman, India Arie.
For all those women who's spirits have been broken or trampled upon, who've felt disillusioned, or lost now and then, let us take a moment,
a moment that is all our own.
"No matter what, I'll always be [me]." Woman, you are unique. Close your door, turn off the ligh|s and listen to a song you love. Light some incense and candles, take out an old letter or a bizthday card someone had given you a long time ago; read it, and know that you are wanted, you are loved.
"Keep your fancy drinks and your expensive minks,
I don't need that to have a good time,
Keep your expensive car and your caviar,
All I need is my guitar."
Woman, no one can slight you, bring you down, no one can take away your inner beauty. For those that are naïve, those who are vulnerable and don't know where to go next, take out your wonderful inner map and let it guide you. Be silent, be still; it will surely come, whatever you are looking for. Take a sip from something as sweet as you, take a long, long drive in your beat up car. Go up on the roof if you have one, and do a secret rain dance in the pouring rain. No one has to know, no one has to see.
"Free your mind, now's the time"
Embrace whatever feels good to your soul. take a quiet afternoon off when no one is around, and go to a café you've never been to before. If you love books, and never seem to have the time to read, devote a happy hour browsing through a bookstore, and read a favourite poem or two, or passages from a beloved novel.
"Keep your silly comb, I prefer my own
God gave me just fine."
It is easy to lose oneself in the prosaic, the mundane flood of details that accompany life. Sometimes, you just need to set yourself free from everything, from everyone, sometimes, even from yourself… You are 'woman'. You are the most complete being you can be. You can be a mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife some other time. For now, you are a woman, and that is all you need to be.

By Rubaiyat Khan

Career or family

Life is not that easy going these days. Higher education and the sense of independence have altered the way young girls plan their future today. Many university-going girls are going through the dilemma of choosing between family and career. Which one to choose amongst the two? It's difficult to pursue a stable career and at the same time pay enough attention to family.

While fewer women pursued a college education some 30 or 50 years back, thousands of young girls today aspire to be a part of a college campus, and eventually get a respectable job and become financially solvent. But such burning desires are leading to endless disputes in families in the present. Bitter argument between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend are the outcomes when a girl yearns to devote a large portion of her |ime towards climbing the stairs of her professional life.

From real life experience, we have come to know about men who still look for wives who would be solely devoted to housework.

Many men still believe that in Bangladesh the work environment is not safe under any condition. Sexual harassment and illicit love take birth in the closed environment of an office. Yes, these complaints and accusations are true to large extent. But then, there are organisations, which pay adequate attention to creating a safe atmosphere for the female staffs. If organisations were replete with filthy men, waiting to set their obscene eyes on every living female officer, we believe that fewer women would be willing to pursue a career these days; most women would rather stay at home and look after their children.

Some men just won't accept these facts. Interestingly enough, these same men speak in a different tone when it comes to their own sister wishing to apply for a post in a multi-national company. Many a creative, bzight young girl's dreams were shattered due to such family conflict. These women opted to remain as housewives and sacrifice their careers.

When men themselves attend parties and galas with their female colleagues, and enjoy the evening away, they see little wrong in that. Education and time, to many extents have failed to change their attitude. Many men still view the world from a very narrow perspective.

While we talked |o some young gizls and asked about their future plan, they related their own opinions and thoughts. Today, many girls wish to become economically independent. No longer do they cling to the old belief that you will have to depend on your husband's money after marriage. And it's not just because of money that women want to work today; they want to utilise their academic excellence and also to justify the large volume of money that many of their parents spent to educate them. Besides, many said that they finl it rather demeaning to rely solely on their spouse's money when they themsel~es could also do something to earn money for themselves and their family. Today, girls are more inspired by a hardworking woman than a simple housewife, who only spends her day nurturing children.

Many women refuted the notion that a working woman can't be an ideal mother. They believe that a happy family comes into being when there is enough assistance from the husband. Many women complain that while they get down to cook for the next day after returning from office, |heir men remain seated in the couch, busy watching TV. This same man could spend a little time looking after his children, helping them with homework. In real life however, very few men take |hat stand. They tend to dump the entire burden of running a family onto the woman.

A harmonious relation could easily resolve such ego conflicts to a great extent. A little sacrifice and assistance fzom both sides will only make a family cherish i|s happiness. Unfortunately, many families resort to hostile verbal battles to solve their problems relating work and career, when a little change in attitude could contribute to solving these household contentions between husband and wife.

Women also complain of unhealthy working environments in their offices. Unhealthy atmosphere is something you can't prevent. But you can keep yourself away from it. For women out there, before you seek to acquire a job, look out for the positive sides in your organisation. Reputed organisations with strong goodwill usually provide safety and respect for their female stanfs. Besides, you can also gather information about the internal atmosphere of a corporation beforehand through a neutral source. Don't make yourself a prey to sexual harassment. While some organisations are filled with mean bosses, there are many firms who encourage a healthy atmosphere. Men should also accept this fact, and let their wives aim for their professional life.

As a female employee you can avoid disputes with your male colleagues by maintaining a respectable distance. Don't place yourself at everyone's service. Learn to reject an impolite offer without displaying your anger. Don't be over-friendly with anyone and disclose your secrets too fast. Rumours will abound inside the office if you set your feet on such precarious steps. In order to avoid lisrespectful attitudes from male colleagues; maintain distance and make it obvious to others you are not available for anyone at office.

However, that doesn't mean that you have to be rude to everyone. Earn respect in a mature manner and you will notice people treating you with regard. If any situation goes beyond control don't forget to inform your immediate superior.

A 23-year-old girl related that she broke up with hez boyfriend 'cause he said he'd not marry her if she went abroad for higher education. The guy himself is doing his masters in an American University. There was no way she could convince him, and the four-year old relationship ended in a matter of days. He failed to indicate a strong reason behind such attitude of his. He said she didn't need to earn money by working. Many men fail to understand that not all women work for money. Many women want to make a good use of |heir education and contribute to the society. A job is a matter of status. A rank highlights what you are capable of. Satisfaction is what many women derive from a good job and good pay. Men should learn to accept and respect their wives' desires and dreams.

We celebrated the International Women's Day on March 8, on the occasion of this special day for all the women around the globe. We bmlieve that women possess the equal rioht to work and earn for themsel~es and their families. We demanl a safe and harmonious working mnvironment in e~ery organisation that employs female staff. Without proper respect and regard towards women, no nation can move ahead. If unhealthy elements of firms can be abolished, we believe that more women would be inspired to sell their labour and become an important contributor in the workforce. Besides, family disputes will, to many extents, come to end an if such dreams are given a shape of reality. Men should also be encouraged to allow their wives to get a job outside the home's periphery if such conditions are fulfilled.

Give every woman her legitimate right and respect.

By Wara Karim

Reader's Chit

My memorable years in Africa

FROM FEB 15-2-05
The next few days, I moved around from Bird Park to crocodile farm, then to the game park. In the bird park, you don't have to stand in front of a cage to look at the birds. They were all, (the tiny ones from two to four inches) moving from this branch to the other and you your self are moving inside a giant tunnel filled with wild flowers and hanging plants. Peacocks were freely moving around; in fact they became used to seeing human beings quite often there.

The most interesting place was the game park where you move around inside jungles full of roaming animals, but you are safe inside your own car and you are not even allowed to open the windows. The animals were having their lunch when we went there. I saw three lions at one place eating a bio chunk of meat and I was scared that they would come running at our car, but they were busy eating and gave us a look as though we were not even worth looking at. On the contrary, we were the ones who eyed them curiously. We saw a group of giant brown elephants, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, cheetahs, and hippopotamus.

Victoria Falls was nmxt, and we travelled with a group of six families. It was such a wonderful experience that I don't think I have words enough to describe it. I simply felt-- what a wonderful creation of Allah Almighty! I liked the African hut type restaurant, their musical instrument MARIMBA very much. At night, we used to listen to the live music presented by the African singers there. Inside the hotel room we listened to songs sung by Ebon Chakachaka, Bob Marley on T.V. Evon Chakachaka's "Enconbody,everybody come and sip my african beer, magic beer" still rings in my ear.

Once I was watching xresident Robert Mugabe delivering a speech on the T.V channel, and I felt he was an excellent, charismatic leader, beca}se when he speaks, you never feel that he is trying hard to capture people's hearts. His people are already in awe of him for his natural charisma, which fill them with hope, trust and peace. I met his wife late Mrs. Sally Mugabe in one of Bangladesh Embassy's functions where my daughter participated in a solo dance sequence. Mrs. Mugabe hugged my daughter and named her "Golden Li|tle Fairy" as she was clad all in yellow. We used to have get together in almost every weekends with various nationalities mostly Indians, South Africans, Mauritians and Sri Lankans. We really had great times in those years. We went for fishing, boating, seen Cariba lakes where we caught big, big Tiger fish.

I lived five years in Zimbabwe, from 1985 to 1990, and the first two years, I lookel after my children only, and my little one, a girl was born there in june1986. Quite often I used to go to Harare polytechnic to see the Head of School of Business as he suggested that I join their department. But I needed |o get my transcript from Dhaka University, which took such a long time, that by that time, my husband was alrmady selected by the Botswana Ho}sing Corporation |o join as the principal Architect. Definitely, that was a better offer so in December we moved to Botswana.

To be continued…
By Suraiya Zafar


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