To many Americans the Arab culture seems repressive, particularly of women. While it is true that in more traditional Arab cultural settings, women have not come as far as they have in other Western societies, the truth is that they are no less strong and capable than their Western counterparts. In fact, it amazes me how the women in Hebron were pushing the bounds and challenging the status quo. I met so many strong and talented women, like principal Reem of Cordoba School, who took on the soldiers at the checkpoint to make the daily commute of teachers and students that much easier. And our landlady Hilda, who was the first woman to teach both men and women how to drive and has been teaching drivers ed for 30 years. If you have seen the way people drive in Hebron, you would realize this proves women really can do anything!
Today an article from NBC News tells about a bloc of women candidates on the ballot for city office in Hebron. Elections have not been held since 1976. The women’s slogan is “By Participating, We Can!” And though there is not a little opposition to women running for public office, they have their supporters too. On October 20th I hope they prevail in their pursuit. And even as they prepare to make history another woman Vera Baboun is a leading candidate for the position of mayor of the city of Bethlehem. She would be the first woman mayor of this city that is known to millions around the world as the birthplace of Jesus. It is a high profile job in a place with so many challenges; challenges Baboun is prepared to meet head on.”We are not going to a fight, but rather to a competition over who can give this city the best services. Let those who have enough creativity go for it regardless of gender, color, or ethnicity,” (Ma’an News 09-23-12). Perhaps it is time for some new ideas and new voices to emerge.