Kolena Laila: Respect



Part of the Kolena Laila initiative.

I have been thinking about what the main issue for Laila is for the past couple of weeks.  I thought about what affects us, what makes us happy, what hurts us, what makes us sad and what would help us the most.  I looked up statistics on domestic violence, literacy, health, poverty and employment.  I wondered and I thought, and then I realized that I wanted to pinpoint one thing and only one thing that could help.

I thought about domestic violence and honor killings, but what could I possibly do to change that.  These are things that need years for people to change their ideas and values.  I am not just talking about domestic violence where a man abuses his wife or a father beats his daughter, I am also talking about brothers who mentally, emotionally and physically abuse their sisters just because they are men and their sisters are women.

Later, during a conversation with my mother she mentioned that the media also played a huge role in women’s issues by portraying women in a way that was not very beneficial to them.  Her argument was that role models were few and far between.  I agree,  women are bombarded with fake beauty ideals, the idea that they are either feminine or successful, that they can either have a career or  a family.  The problem is there is not much I could do there either.

How about sexual harassment, that’s a pretty hot topic right now and as much as I think that every harasser should be jailed and fined, for even a minor offense.  We need changes to laws and tough enforcement.  It needs government involvement and change in behavior on the people’s part too, because women are sometimes also to blame because they do not report these assaults because of societal fears.

Fairness and equality at work is more about the company you work for as opposed to the country’s policy.  Let’s be fair for a while, you are entitled to 3 months paid maternity leave, you should get equal pay and if you need to take an extended leave of absence for family reasons you can.  The problem is not with the law but how companies find ways to work around them to discriminate against women.

So many issues but only one in my view can be a real situation changer.

And that is RESPECT

Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? Confucius

Respect yourself, as a woman respect yourself.  Women should respect themselves before expecting respect from anyone else.  A woman is more than a pretty face, a dress size or a stereotype, respect her individuality, her inner beauty and her soul.

Respect your strengths.  A woman is strong, respect that, enjoy it and build on it.

Respect your daughter.  Respect her dreams, her wishes, her aspirations and help her achieve her dreams.

Respect your mother.  Whether you agree or disagree with her, she is the reason you are here today, respect the fact that maybe she had to make hard choices and sacrificed time and effort on your behalf.

Respect the men in your life.  When a woman respects her man, her husband or father, he will respect her back and most probably will treat her the same way.

Respect change.  Change is inevitable, respect it and you will understand and accept it.  Understand the cycle of change, nothing happens over night, but if women work together change can happen, it just needs time and hard work.

Respect your limitations.  No woman is super woman, seriously!  No they can not really move mountains no matter how hard they try, at least not alone.  Sometimes we need to listen to our limitations.  Sometimes we need to ask for help or say we can not do something.

Take a moment to think about the women in your lives, celebrate them and thank them.


  • At 2008.10.19 05:01, gjoe said:

    Dah men a7san el posts areetha ta2reeban fe 7ayaty!!

    Begad enty olty bezzabt elly 3ayza a2ooloh w makontesh 3arfa!!

    The key is in respect. Bezaabt keda! Kanet 3’ayba 3anny feen deh.Law koll wa7da e7taramet nafsaha el awel, she will force people to respect her!!

    Bravo 3aleeky ya jessyz!! Claps right there!!

    • At 2008.10.19 11:10, inas said:

      i agree if u respect ur self every one will respect u but we have to define self respect and respect for others and teach that to our kids boys and girl and if we specify girls it is because they will be mothers and will teach that to their kids not because we are feministe

      • At 2008.10.19 23:48, jessyz said:

        @gjoe: I am flattered that you found it interesting.
        @inas: Yes respect is the key to everything.