Days at Watani

15-12-2011 09:04 AM

Laila al-Hinnawy

Days, weeks, months and years have passed, and now we have celebrated our 50th birthday. Fifty years of struggle and hard work. But even when the days were difficult, they didn’t bother us. Time passed more quickly than we could have imagined, because our work was peppered with interest and excitement.
Working as an editor of the Woman’s page was very special to me as a wife and mother; it indirectly affected and enriched my life. Other papers allocate corners for women staff, usually on fashion topics, cookery, etiquette and home decorating. These things are definitely important for women. But how can we take care of the external elements and ignore the internal ones, such as woman’s role in society, being an equal partner to a man, and sharing the same duties and rights, having a mature mentality, way of thought and expression, shaping an opinion and thinking deeply.
Watani’s founder Antoun Sidhom was the first editor-in-chief to allocate a complete page, not just a corner, to the ‘woman, family and child’.
I well remember the various campaigns launched by Watani: the campaign we led against female circumcision; pre-marital medical check-ups; sex education; equal treatment for all children, boys and girls; and even campaigning against the insulting names commonly used to describe mothers-in-law. Today, 50 years on, it is gratifying to say that these campaigns have yielded magnificent results.

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