Is the Dream Moving?

Progress is defined as generally moving forward and if we look at it in that sense it’s interesting to ponder upon where in the world progress is taking place?

My friend Lubna Hussain has her own chat show on Saudi Television.
My friend Lubna Hussain has her own chat show on Saudi Television.

Sometimes it seems to me that Europe’s “getting old” and many people have stopped trying because they are content with the way things are. The welfare state plays a big role in the lazyness that has set in.

Am not a feminist, but after realizing that women in the EU, even in Sweden, are paid less then men for the same job, I am frankly stunned that more progress hasn’t been made during the last twenty years. Have told people all over the world numerous times that in Sweden there is complete equality between men and women. But men in the EU are still on average paid 15 percent more than women for exactly the same job. And these differences still exist even in public sector jobs, such as teachers. What we are looking at here is actually stagnation, which is the opposite of progress.

In Sweden the highest pay gap is in the finance sector where women are actually paid 18 percent less and with only 1,7 percent difference female staff working in architectural firms seems to have made the best choice. Most likely the lack of progress in this respect has been helped by the fact that people in general don’t talk about how much they earn? But the main reason is that people are too content and lazy to make an effort.

The Arab world on the other hand is making progress when it comes to equality between men and women:

Amal Soliman, Egypt’s first female marriage officer was appointed last year and the UAE followed suit and appointed Fatima Said Obeid as their first female marriage officer

Eva Habil is Egypt’s first female mayor for Komboha in the south

Egypt has 31 female judges

Kuwait has female members of parliament

My friend Lubna Hussain has her own talk show on Saudi television

Barbara Walters in the US actually wasn’t allowed to more than co-host a TV show until about ten years ago.  How many Americans would have thought that  Saudi Arabia would follow suit that swiftly?

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is appointing Saudi women to top positions and even has a female Saudi pilot. And there is an increasing number of work places in KSA that are mixed.

These are just some examples of progress has taken place within the last few years in the Middle East. But in Europe nothing much has been happening for the last twenty years or so.

Constant progress is, in my opinion, essential for development and I believe that the future belongs to the parts of this world that are still trying and hence making progress.

Or as Einstein put it: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”. Is the balance in this world moving towards the Middle East and Asia? Most likely because having a dream facilitates progress. In the Middle East and Asia more people are dreaming and making an effort to make their dreams come true. Equality between men and women is just one example. Or as Eleanor Roosevelt once put it: “the future belongs to those who have a dream”.

(Re-published on popular demand)

13 thoughts on “Is the Dream Moving?

  1. Hello Catarina

    Yes Asia is dreaming and working hard to make it’s dreams as reality
    Here in Saudi Arabia you may have seen that females are getting some rights . Like ; to vote , for high education and the government is creating opportunities for jobs for females.

    I am happy to see that you are bringing up positive image of KSA.
    thank you for a nice share.
    My recent post International Day of Happiness.

  2. honestly, we have seen alot of change and progress in the arab world recently.
    i guess that its up to realization of arab in how slowly they wrere moving.
    in the middle east we have so many good stuff but the problem is we do not have the channels that will transmit , reflex it to west.
    you may say in the kindomship, royality system some how civilians do have more equlity than republican , democratic one.
    any how i think we are going in the right way to development and equlity between males , females is increasing day after day.

  3. Olivier I'm not sure about that kind of quotas. They are talking about that in Sweden as well. Even for board of directors. Really think they should start by making sure women are paid as much as men for the same job.

  4. Hi Catarina,

    What would be your opinion about what we call in France "Discrimination positive", that is to say setting (by law) some quotas to have a given percentage of women in some areas (Ministries, education, etc. – only public areas of course).

    IMO, on the "pros"" side, it's an efficient way to force administrations to move on. Brutal but efficient when no other way was efficient so far.

    On the"cons" side, if quotas are legally set for women, to be consistent, we should set quotas for senior, gays, foreigners, etc.

    Cheers, dear Catarina.

  5. When I read the title of this post, I thought of business growth in the Middle East and Asia and thought of the loss of the "dream" in the USA. In my experience, working in the US, the "glass ceiling" still exists but not as much in IT. I have worked with many women who were paid much more than I.

  6. Hello Catarina,

    Your writing is quite good. Especially the way you end your articles is very good. The two quotes really fit in well. But this time I felt you were talking about financial progress in the EU vis a vie Social and gender recognition in terms of capabilities for the Middle Eastern market. You see even in EU, though the women are paid less they have been long recognized. At least in terms of their intellectual capabilities. In the Middle Eastern space women are being recognized now for their intellectual capabilities. Nobody is talking weather they are as equal as men in terms of financial matters. Or at least your article does not talk about it. At the end of the day, every one knows there cannot be exact equality between Men and Women. At least in terms of work. There are certain jobs which are restricted for men, and vice-versa some jobs which are restricted for women, because of the nature of work. The jobs where there are both men and women working together are usually professional, administrative, some parts of defense, engineering, etc. where we can probably talk about equality of pay. But all in all it was a refreshing read. Thanks.

    1. Interesting comments Adam. My article was more philosophical in the sense of the importance of dreaming to progress. Your opinions on men-women in the workforce I'm afraid I do not share at all. But it's a free world so you are entitled to your opinions.

  7. It was a good thought equality in the middle east /Asia its been there for generations not necessarily like the west where the family fabric is broken and western society is facing its own issues its is neo colonial perspective of the west which keep dictating its view on democracy and equality it was such fickle comment made seems right out of middle ages!!!! Both Asian and Middle Eastern cultures are based on solid foundation – recent events have shown the desperation of the western economies in finding grip with their own materialistic approach to life- its equilibrium that one looks for not equality in the living world- man/woman/society or country

    1. Good points Ani. Firmly agree with you that Asian and Middle Eastern cultures are based on more solid and loyal foundations than the West. People take care of each other and that is something that is sorely lacking in the West.

  8. it's good to know that in our countries are making some progress to achieve the equality between men and women, but from my view point i think we are very far from Europe and America countries, but it doesn't mean that they are not working on the problem.
    anyways nice article we are in progress more than EU and hope a day we can get our goal women = men.

    1. Glad we agree. Of course Europe and the US is far ahead of Asia and the Middle East in this respect. Work has been done to achieve equality between men and woman for about 100 years in the West. So now it seems Westerners have stopped trying, even though there is still no real equality. Imagine different salaries for men and women doing the same job after 100 years of efforts of achieving equality. Wouldn't call that a success, would you?

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