I'm constantly bemused when I meet women who don't seem to understand how lucky they are. They don't seem to care about the sacrifices the Suffragettes made for the women to come after them. They think feminism is a dirty word. They have no concept of history. They've grown up with access to education and healthcare. They can wear what they want in public without a member of the police hitting them with a fucking big stick.
Tonight I watched a TV documentary which made me once again thank my lucky stars that I was born in a country where I could basically do what the hell I liked despite having a uterus.
Nel Hedayet is an Afghan born, British raised 21 year old girl who wanted to know more about the country of her birth. She travelled to Afghanistan to find out about her heritage and learn what life was really like for her sisters. What she found shocked her and reduced her to tears on several occasions. She found an Afghanistan where the Taliban may have been overthrown but where outside of the capital Kabul women are still forced to cover themselves from head to toe in the dreaded blue burkas. She met a 15 year old girl whose father had given her to a 60 year old man to take as his wife. She met another 15 year old whose father had married her off at the age of 12 and consigned her to a life of physical abuse from her inlaws, abuse so overwhelming that the child set fire to herself in order to escape. 15 years of age, languishing in a ward full of other married children who had resorted to self immolation to free themselves from their miserable existences. She met Afghan schoolgirls who risked their lives to go to school. Nel reflected on how angry she thought the girls would be to find out that their British counterparts squandered their own education opportunities and skipped school for no good reason. She met a girl with an enlightened and loving father. She met a 14 year old boy who would not 'allow' his older sister to appear on a local television show as it would be 'disrespectful' to him. She met many inspirational girls and women who are attempting to rail against the status quo of a country where the cards are stacked against them.
At the end of her trip she threw herself into the arms of her mother and told her that she finally understood why her parents had left their homeland. I wonder that it took her so long. I'm just glad she got there. And I'm glad she got out.
Never take your freedom for granted.