In a men’s world by Haya Abimelech, Syria

It all started where I lived: in Syria. Our neighborhood people were more traditional than those in other areas, so if you are a girl, you aren’t supposed to go out a lot or let strange men see you.

I was a very rare case. You could see me at 10 years old, waiting for bread, rice, or sugar in the men’s line with only some very old women. Years later, you could see me in an electrical supplies shop asking for specific tools while the men stared at me. Or you could see me carrying very heavy bags alone while walking in the neighborhood. I could hear the whispers, “where is her father or her brother?” or “why is a girl here with us?” or “it is a man’s job to buy such items”

Because of  all these memories, I grew up to be a very unique girl in my family, who is now traveling abroad alone. I had a lot of moments when I told myself: “Nothing will stop me just because I am a woman!” I can work, study, or move from house to house alone, with the truck guy carrying the heavy furniture.

“Too dangerous to do it alone, too much responsibility to handle it alone…” I hear sentences like these from people around me every single day.

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