My Turn, Evelyn Uddin-khan: Women’s history begins in the Scriptures
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Here we are ladies! We have our own month (30 short days) to tell the world that the world cannot function without us.
How did we speed through time, from “creation” to the present time and still have no place to call our own? The answer is simple.
Years ago, in my teaching life, I was preparing notes for a lecture on “Women And Religion.”
As luck would have it, I was sharing a table with a rabbi and a Jesuit priest. We all worked for the same institution. I was working quietly, they were talking, and then they asked what I was preparing for.
Well, I told them. After an informative discussion, 30 minutes later, they both assured me that men, from creation to the present time, are the experts on religion and women. Men read and interpret the Holy Scriptures. They both agreed that if men are going to do the interpretation and make the laws, then they are going to make laws that give them power over the weaker tribe.
In plain English, they said, the interpreters are the bosses, the heroes, the brains and the muscles behind the power. And in such a scenario, women became the peons subjected to the will and whim of the stronger tribe.
A week later when I did the lecture on “Women and Religion,” I had another eye opener.
Ten minutes into the program one young man announced that if it was not for Eve we wouldn’t have to deal with sins. He felt, because of Eve we are all sinners.
That comment caught me off guard. My response was, “If Adam had not left Eve unprotected and unprepared to deal with the devil, that disaster would not have happened. Adam failed to protect Eve.”
The females in the audience liked that response.
Here is another example of male thinking. In another lecture entitled “Women and Gender Issues,” a young man pointed out that gender issues were about women’s problems, and did not concern men.
My silly response was, “How did you figure that out?” His answer, “I’m a man. I don’t have gender problems.” End of story!
These incidents took place six or seven years ago in New York. So, Eve alone is the cause of our problems. And men do not have gender problems.
For me, Women’s History Month means nothing when what we are dealing with is some inborn belief in the male psyche that (1), they are not the problem, and (2), women are inferior to men.
Until my conversation with the rabbi and the priest, I had not looked at the origins of the oppression of women. But their “revelation” is so true. Men who have interpreted the Holy Torah, the Holy Bible, and the Holy Quran have used their interpretive skills to subject women to the will of man.
Now, here we — women — are, in 2023, thousands of years later still fighting, hoping, praying, that one day we will share the spotlight with men as equal creations of God.
But that won’t happen. I have no hope. Not with today’s struggles that women face daily. The male politics, the male power structure, their fight for supreme control over women — men’s holy power is here to stay.
Margaret Thatcher (former British Prime Minister) said, “If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.”
Men are talkers. Women are doers. Men are interpreters of the holy books — books that contain some pretty, powerful women.
Perhaps it is time for men to re-read the Scriptures and take notes on the roles of those powerful women in the holy books. And don’t forget, we women produced some very powerful men in those books.
Evelyn Uddin-khan moved to Salisbury in 2018 after living in the New York City area for most of her life. She taught in public schools and for a community college in the New York City area.