How far is gender discrimination from your door? Your community? Your church? Your home? It may be closer than you think.
Maggie Morgan is an award-winning filmmaker from Egypt who explores and challenges the treatment of women in her country – and across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – through her TV programmes.
When she started digging into her own family and community, she thought, because educated and middle class, they were immune from such problems. So she was surprised to discover “the threads of discrimination woven throughout our lives, very, very close to home, and perhaps even at home”.
Maggie’s first eye-opener came at university, where she found out that several of her course-mates had been subjected to the awful practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). She later discovered that her father’s sister had suffered likewise, and had also been forced to leave university and get married – despite her objections.
And it wasn’t only the “big” things. Maggie explained:
“My [paternal] grandfather’s schedule, when he came home for lunch, the hour of his siesta, and when he liked the house to be quiet, and all his preferences took priority over my grandmother’s or anyone else’s. That was simply how things were in most Egyptian homes.
“In some ways that is how things still are. How many of us have been shushed because Daddy or Grandad is sleeping but were never asked to do the same for Mummy or Grandma?”
But Maggie also discovered that her maternal great-grandfather was way ahead of his time. He refused to subject his two daughters to FGM, and sent them both to school along with their brother.Maggie’s grandmother was able to marry a man of her own choice. Reflecting on how her great-grandfather’s attitude has impacted her own life, she said:
“He put his foot down and I know how much it impacted generations and lives, down to my own. I know the power and impact that one enlightened person can make in a family.
“This injustice stops here”
“Through [my television programme] Needle and New Thread,I hope to see more men and women who can stand up and say, ‘This injustice stops here’.”
Maggie’s programme is broadcast on SAT-7, a Christian satellite TV and digital media network in the Middle East and North Africa with an audience of 25 million.
As part of a new campaign, ‘This is Love’, SAT-7 is highlighting the abuse and mistreatment suffered by women and girls in the MENA under the illusion of love.The impact of this behaviour extends far beyond the individual women themselves. Children are left emotionally-scarred, families become dysfunctional, and communities are broken as shame creates barriers of fear and isolation.
Did you know…?
“An estimated 30% of women in the Middle East and North Africa region have experienced physical violence by intimate partners at some point in their lives, while one in seven girls is married as a child.”
Blerta Aliko, Deputy Regional Director of Arab states at UN Women
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN
You can join SAT-7’s ‘This is Love’ campaign, which runs throughout Lent until Easter. SAT-7 wants to see women – and indeed all people – restored to their God-given image and value, and relationships transformed by His love.
Your prayers for people in the MENA are powerful! Join us in praying for women, men
For more information, and to sign-up, click here
You can also join the campaign by text. Text