I see a lot of posts about Feminism and I wonder if there is a misconception, misunderstanding, or misbelief but whatever the case is some of you are missing the point. Feminists don’t hate men, they are not angry, not all feminists are lesbians. There are religious feminists, they believe in marriage and are family-oriented.

If you’ve never taken the time to read about the term but rather run with what you’re being fed by misogynistic people including women (yes, women can be misogynist against women too) then consult uncle Google, Google will give you a simple and comprehensive meaning of the term. And you will understand that Feminism is the belief in the social, economic, and political equality of sexes. Oh, wait! Google is a western platform and feminism is a western ideology used to mislead our women. Sigh!

Well maybe try Auntie Wikipedia. Wiki is just an encyclopedia written by the same people that use it. Meaning you and I can go in there and suggest a change in the meaning of Feminism. But before we do that Wikipedia says “The feminist movement (also known as the women’s movement, or simply feminism) refers to a series of political campaigns for reforms on issues such as reproductive health, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women’s suffrage, sexual harassment, and sexual violence, all of which fall under the label of feminism and the feminist movement. The movement’s priorities vary among nations and communities and range from opposition to female genital mutilation in one country to opposition to the glass ceiling in another.” Now, do we think any of the issues mentioned are worth fighting against? I think so.

Feminism is not a war against men. Feminists just believe that the world should be gender equal. Treating everyone the same. Creating equal opportunities and resources for all genders. Just like we advocate for treating all races the same. You know, like Black Lives Matter. Women’s Rights Matter too.

According to Oxford Islamic Studies Online, “Islam faith states that in the eyes of God, men and women should be equal and can fulfill the same roles. Therefore, they also are required to complete all the duties of a Muslim worshiper, including the completion of religious traditions, specifically the pilgrimage to Mecca. Islamic culture marked a movement towards liberation and equality for women since prior Arab cultures did not enable women to have such freedoms. Now, women in Islam are even entitled to their own right to land. There is evidence that Muhammad (SAW) asked women for advice and took their thoughts into account, specifically about the Quran. Women could pray with men, take part in commercial interactions, and played a role in education. One of Muhammad’s (SAW) wives, Aisha, played a significant role in medicine, history, and rhetoric. Women, however, did not hold religious titles, but some held political power with their husbands or on their own. The historic role of women in Islam is connected to societal patriarchal ideals, rather than actual ties to the Quran.”

Oh! Oxford Islamic Studies Online, another Western platform? So only Middle Eastern and North African sources, eh? The issue of women in Islam is becoming more prevalent in modern society. In case, you did not know, Middle Eastern and North African Islamic nations, are increasing their creation of economic and employment opportunities for women; compared, to every other region in the world, the Middle East and North African region ranks lowest on economic participation, employment opportunity and the political empowerment of women. These countries got the memo and are taking advantage of women’s participation in all sectors.

If you are worried about Feminism interfering with our traditions, here let me help you… Anyone can be a feminist and still follow traditions. But let us not forget that traditions are just social norms and practices that have persisted for some period. Usually outside and beyond the reach of the law. Traditions are also specific to a society. That does not mean they are right and must be followed. A Gambian man living in the US dares not to marry more than one wife. This may be traditional or “Islamic” in The Gambia, but it is illegal in the US. Another example, In the US, young people are supposed to look at their elders in the eye when talking to them, but it is a sign of disrespect in African society. You and I will agree that following or violating traditions shouldn’t be any penalization but that is subject to society too. Even where we are supposed to follow traditions, anyone deciding not to follow them still respect them. Unless they are harmful traditional practices then there is a problem especially instilled by patriarchy to oppress women. Such as viewing and treating women as sex objects, depriving women of their reproductive health rights, etc. Then, there is a reason for anyone including feminists to be hostile toward those traditions.

Understanding feminism is not too hard. You just have to read a little more and educate yourself. You will get it. When you do, come take part in the actions to ensure an equal world for all genders. Let us create the needed resources for everyone to be successful. Gender equality is a long reach but some of these measures can help, protecting women from sexual abuse/violence, domestic violence, harmful traditional practices, etc. We can also create the possibilities for women to succeed like advocating for equal pay, maternity leave since women are naturally the live givers and a seat at the decision-making tables. Equity is needed to reach equality. It is all to ensure that everyone makes the most of their lives and talents. And I guarantee you that women are equally talented.

Again, feminism is not a gender war. Men can be and are feminists. Whoever believes that feminists are out to get back at men, do not understand the meaning of a feminist or being a feminist. The goal of a feminist is to see a world where equal treatment, opportunities, and resources are accessible to all sexes.

The writer, Sukai Gaye, wrote in from Seattle, Washington.