Judith Barry | Cairo stories | Nadar

…Cairo stories – Nadar

Nadar | A Woman~Rights

Women are the secret wealth in Cairo… Women are the secret wealth of the world… Sometimes I say that to myself over and over again. I tell it to myself to keep going. I say this because I know women cares a bout different things than men. I am sixty two now. l’ve spent most of my life among the working poor and especially women in Cairo.

Did you ever wonder why family is so important here? What else is there? It is the only stability. And women keep it going. The people you see, the women you see in people’s homes, doing menial jobs, they are the main providers for their families. Not the men. They pay more than the menial jobs for men and they pay much more than the police or army work the men get. The women that work for women, they pay them well because they understand their position in their families as the main earners. They recognize this. And after a while you consider them as part of your family and you care a bout them as family.

Every year two hundred thousand young people enter the work force. And every year at most only sixty thousand new jobs. College tuition is free if you can get into college. The primary education is compulsory. So, things are getting better for women because more and more register, so that means they can practice their rights.

It is at the same time getting more conservative. It is the Year of Women, although all the male judges voted to ban women from becoming judges even though the constitution says that men and women have to be treated equal. Th is is really much more telling to me than that many women now wear head scarves. You might think ‘head scarf’ means conservativeness… not for all… Many women wear head scarves for many, many different reasons, so you can’t judge by the scarf. It can be for different things.

Perhaps, the women say they have tried the Western way. It didn’t really work for them, so they decided to do something different.

Perhaps the message in all of this is that we have a number of contradictory factors at workin our culture right now. Is the message contradictory? Or, the culture contradictory? Or both?