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?
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)