Saudi Arabia is known for being a country that is oppressive in certain ways toward women. They cannot vote, and they cannot drive. That is just the tip of the iceberg. According to the World Economic Forum, Saudi Arabia is in fact one of the worst countries of women, as they are required to have a male “guardian” at all times, and need permission from their guardian to travel, work, get medical treatment, go to school, have money and even simple things like going to the store.
The oppression that women still face in that country has meant they have found other ways to raise their voice to empower each other. But times might be about to change, because a new law announced by King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in 2011 says that women will be allowed to vote as soon as 2015, and even run for election in municipal councils. Sure there is still a long way to go before women are viewed and treated as equal, but the power to vote is a major step forward and will hopefully allow many changes to be made.
Saudi singer Tamtam, who is based in Los Angeles, released a video called ‘Gender Game’ where she sings about the importance of equality.
“Gender Game is a message for women to stand up for their rights; it is a song meant to empower women and encourage people to understand one another’s perspectives,” says her Youtube channel.
We often forget that gender equality is something that affects us all. It is easy to focus on other parts of the world, and for good reason. But the issue of gender is something we can all relate to, and this is the heart of Tamtam’s message.
In her video she features women of all ages, nationalities and appearances singing along to her lyrics. In a Beyonce-esque fashion, she samples an importance speech in American feminist history.
National Organization of Women founder Betty Friedan’s 1970 speech during the Women’s Strike For Equality Day has been sampled, reiterating Tamtam’s message that gender is not a game, and it is something all women should be aware of.
“There will be a new kind of creativity, not only a new definition of love, but as we define ourselves there will be a new image of women…and in the joy on every woman’s face, in our affirmation of ourselves as women we felt this transcendent joy,” is the part of Betty’s speech you hear in the video.
The video opens with a quote that firmly cements why the fight for gender equality and women’s rights aren’t over just because it’s 2014.
“Despite brutal restrictions on women’s rights, over the past decade, less than 4% of international aid has been allocated to gender equality.”
So what can we do about it? Follow Tamtam’s lead. Use your voice, your platform, your influence, your resources, and whatever power you have to raise your voice for an important cause.
Share this video with every woman you know, and use it as a reminder to continue to empower one another in the name of gender equality.