The saying goes, “men rule the world,” but is that really true? The older I get, the more I realize the truth is the opposite: women rule the world, and not in the vague, machismo sense, but through the daily, everyday grinding activities that men are simply a guest to it. Although men and women need each other to cohabit this earth, I think women could easily outlast men on their own; while men really need women to survive. Sure, men have fought wars and conquests without the help of women, but that was just the initial stage – women always maintained ‘whatever’ men attained through muscle. My point is women are capable of building durable communities.
I bring this observation, not to please women or piss off men, because I have seen throughout my life that women’s work always surpasses men’s in any situation. I was reminded again how women’s strength is far superior to men’s this week at school. Like most schools in the U.S., our university has a chapter of MSA (Muslim Student Association) and like most of the chapters throughout the country, the majority of the MSA members and active participants, including leadership, are women. I also saw this huge gender disparity in the high school MSA chapters (at least the two I’ve been to). Back to my point. As usual, on Thursday I went to make my afternoon (duhr) prayer at the school provided facility, but unlike previous times, this day I stumbled on few sisters counting bunch of money on the floor, which seemed odd to me at first but soon realized the money came from their just concluded fundraising for Gaza.
I do not know if any male club members were involved in their fundraising efforts at any point but from what I could gather (based on a very limited evidence, I have to say), it was all the sister’s. I felt very proud and ashamed at the same time. This was the same feelings I used to get during high school when I was the vice president. In fact, the sisters were so good at organizing and outreaches, that when I was elected with the most votes (which would’ve made me the club president), I decided to give the presidency role to the sister who I defeated in the shura election because she would do an admirable job and she did. I say ‘ashamed’ because we men in the Ummah seem to be quite terrible at organizing and building strong Ummah.
I would say, with confidence, that without the strength of our Somali women, Somalia would be just in utter chaos, non-existent communities. Before the civil war, the role of women in Somali life was minimal, but after the war, our women folk stepped up and filled the void left by dead husbands/fathers/brothers and khat addicted men. More importantly, without the women in the diaspora who 98% of the time send remittances back home, the women in business, or the women working in the farm fields, the entire Somali population would entirely depend on foreign aid. Of course there are many men at home and in the diaspora who take care of their family, but not at the level of the women. Before the civil war, most girls were viewed as a burden to their families while the boys were pampered and dotted on. Now there is a proverb in Somalia that say ‘if you have a daughter in the diaspora, your life is set’ – something to that effect. I don’t write this from a scientific point of view but rather from a first-hand experience of the strength of all the women around me – Somali, non-Somali, Muslim and non-Muslim – all of them have demonstrated.
I think it’s time we men give women the role of ruling the world. Let’s try it and see how it works out.