College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Isom Panel Speaks on International Women’s Day

from the Daily Mississippian by Amber Helsel

Women from various parts of the world spoke at the Isom Center’s Brown Bag ‘International Women’s Day Panel’ on Monday afternoon.

Each of the women spoke about the role of women in the societies of their countries and the way their countries celebrate International Women’s Day.

  

Tamar Karakozova, a Ph.D. candidate in English, is from the country of Georgia. Georgia is located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

It is bordered in the north by Russia and in the southwest by Turkey. Georgia was one of the 15 republics of the former Soviet Union. In the 1990s, it became independent from Soviet rule.  

“The holiday itself, International Women’s Day, was a part of the socialist movement, and it was based on honoring working women who were equals to men,” Karakozova said.

“In the 1990s, International Women’s Day was eliminated from state holidays.

“However, it is still celebrated. Georgians are people who like celebrating everything. The holiday can last for as long as it can.”

Due to the consecutive holidays, Mother’s Day, which happens on March 3 in Georgia, and International Women’s Day, which happens on March 8, women are celebrated the entire first week of March.

Ana Kuzmanovi Jovanovi, assistant professor in the department of Iberian studies at the University of Belgrade in Serbia, is a visiting scholar at the University of Mississippi.  

In Serbia, located in the Balkan Peninsula, women represent 55 percent of the population. However, Jovanovi said there are few women in Serbian government.

In all 24 ministries, they only have four women holding offices, Jovanovi said.

“We are still living in a very traditional and patriarchal society where women are seen as weaker or gentler, or a more beautiful sex,” she said.

“I’m not sure that they have equal rights. We still have to fight for equal opportunities because they are still not really equal.”

Also on the panel was Hunain Alkhateb, a Ph.D. student in engineering from Jordan, a Middle Eastern country roughly the size of Mississippi that is located west of Iraq.  

Jordan does not celebrate Women’s History Month, which takes place in March.

However, Alkhateb notes that women have superior rights in Jordan.     

“When we start talking about women in history, basically because we are an Islamic country, all of the rights that came for women were liberated from Islam,” Alkhateb said.  

Alkhateb said women were not treated very well before Islam.  

“They always thought that the woman is less than she is,” Alkhateb said.

“She does not have any rights or anything, but when Islam came it prized and elevated a woman’s role.

“She became an equal and sometimes women have more rights than the men.”

Alkhateb said that in marriage, the woman has an equal right to write the marriage contract.

The bride will also receive gifts such as jewelry, which she keeps in the case of a divorce.

“We don’t have a special celebration for women,” Alkhateb said.

“Every day is a celebration. Every day is a mother’s day. Every day is a sister’s day. Every day is a grandmother’s day.”