The New York Post discredited the maid Strauss-Kahn allegedly raped with the headline “DSK Maid Hooker”. As usual in a rape investigation, the press – and sadly often investigating police as well – open the witch hunt to discredit the victim, rather than making the rapist face up to his crimes without excuses.
Even if the maid had been a hooker (something she and her solicitor strongly deny, so much so that they are suing The Post and five journalists for libel) – does this mean she could not have been raped?
Do prostitutes not have the right to say “No”? Can a prostitute not be raped simply because she sometimes choses to sell sex? Surely a “no” means “no” – no matter what profession a woman has? Can the press and law representatives not see the difference between a consensual paid or unpaid sexual act that is beneficial to both and the non-consensual, enforced, violent act of sex used by one person to humiliate and dominate another?
But even though sex workers provide a relevant social service to society they are seen as cold and calculating individuals who have no emotions and do not provide more than a physical service.
The Muslim “Obedient Wives Club” recently hit the headlines by promoting to train wives to be as skilled as prostitutes in the bedroom, “so that men do not have to go and see hookers”. The clubs representatives then quickly explained that of course rough “hookers” are in a different category than sacred “wives”.
Fauziah Ariffin, the Malaysian OWC chapter’s national director, told the Malay Mail: ” We are not putting wives on the same level with prostitutes. We are talking about first-class elite types, not street hooker types … Ordinary prostitutes can only provide good sex, but not love and affection, which only a wife can provide.”
What about the prostitutes that listen hour after hour to those punters that want to chat as much as having sex? What about the wives and mothers that earn a living as prostitutes? It is all two sides of the same coin.
No matter how hard the press or religious organisations try – the enforced dichotomy between “normal woman” vs. “prostitute”, aka second class citizen does simply not work. To hell with the stereotypes of the sacred Madonna and the dirty whore. I am a woman. They are women. We are both citizens with the same hopes, fears and feelings and human rights. A woman is a woman. “No” means “No”. Fullstop.
I just read that in Germany, the country I grew up in, the share women have on corporate boards and executive committees is only 2%. This is the same low figure as in India, that we still arrogantly call a “developing nation” – as if we are so far ahead of them in economic, political and cultural matters. In the UK and US the share of women in these positions is 14%. The maximum input women have at this level of management world wide is still only 20%. Women are over 50% of humankind, so to be represented so poorly in top positions where crucial decisions are being made, is shocking and disappointing.
Quotas that would guarantee more women access to prime positions are hotly debated in Germany right now. The Deutsche Telekom has chosen to have at least 30% of female candidates on its job short lists. So now many men cry “murder” because they consider this move reverse sexism and feel disadvantaged (as if ?!). I think it is obvious that women will not get a job just because of their gender. They need to be at least just as qualified as the men who applied to do the job. The truth is that women are often more qualified than their male co-applicants but are often not even invited for an interview due to their female gender. The least that can be done is drawing up fairer shortlists that represent applicants of both genders fairly, rather than just men. Chances are it will still be a man who is picked for the job because he will be interviewed by an all male panel and will be working for male bosses.
Whenever I got a chance to make my mark or do a sale within the industry it was facilitated through another woman who was in a position of power and understood and supported my vision that most businessmen still are blind too.
Somewhere, somehow gender discrimination has to end – and in order to achieve this we have to temporarily create more windows for women to be seen, and open more doors for women to step through. We need to be given the chance to be seen and heard rather than hitting the glass ceiling over and over again.
I want to encourage women to go for an interview and possibly even a high-powered job based on the new quota (as well as their obvious qualifications), rather than being left out in the cold jet again – just because they are female. If there is an opportunity, take it ! It is your right.