Before coming to Dubai I had a conception that women in Islamic countries are oppressed and do not have any freedom. However, when I came here my stereotype about Islam was deconstructed.
I have written the words “We are Equal” in Arabic. This is to portray that men and women are equal. Humans without regard of their religion or gender are equal and should be able to enjoy the same rights. Many people around the world believe that women in Dubai, are oppressed and do not enjoy any kind of freedom. They think that women do not have any freedom rights. They believe that woman do not show their faces, are not allowed to drive, are not allowed to roam around alone, but this is not the case.
Women in Dubai enjoy much more freedom as compared to before and as compared other Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, where women are not even allowed to drive. Recently, a girl was lashed 10 times in Saudi Arabia as she was caught driving (aljazeera.com).
Women now participate in all fields of work and many women have taken up the top positions such as CEOs, CFOs, etc. at huge MNCs. People in Dubai have worked towards women empowerment and have been successful in achieving its goals.
But, many still believe that women are very oppressed in Arabic countries. Fatema Mernissi, a Moroccan feminist, writer and sociologist, remarks that “if women's rights are a problem for some modern Muslim men, it is neither because of the Quran nor the Prophet Muhammad, nor the Islamic tradition, but simply because those rights conflict with the interests of a male elite”(Women, Work, and Islam in Arab Societies).
According to the The Quran 3:195
“I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other”
"The Holy Quran states the moral and spiritual equality of men and women by balancing principles and rewards for both genders in identical terms”(Gender Equality in Islam). So the oppression against women that most people think exists, is more because of oppression by men and not because of the religion.
For my project I used the AutoCAD software and inscribed these words on a foam board using a laser cutter. Then I painted the text in blue and pink, blue representing men and pink for women. I tried to blend both the colors together to show that both genders are equal. I’m glad that I’m residing in Dubai where gender equality is highly prevalent and promoted. Dubai is becoming a leader in the Islamic region to promote gender equality. I see this spreading in Saudi Arabia as well, in the near future.