The women rights movement fights a battle on many fronts from agitating for equal pay to demanding that governments put a stop to child marriages within their countries. On a lot of these fronts, the women rights movement has made some progress in Africa.
This year alone, a number of African countries have banned child marriages and raised the legal age for marriage mostly to 18 years old, but it is obvious that there is still a lot of work to be done in reshaping individual perceptions and mindsets about women, even when said mindsets are held by women themselves.
Algeria’s cabinet minister, Mounia Meslem, is one of such women who should be fighting the cause of the women right movement but a recent statement she made has gotten a lot of women angry and confused.
The Jeune Afrique news site reports that Mounia Meslem sparked controversy after suggesting that working women who are married should give their pay to the national treasury, making the argument that they have husbands to take care of them.
Mounia Meslem is Algeria’s family and women’s affairs minister and she made the statement in the guise of offering a solution to the government’s cash problem as the North African country has been hit by falling oil and gas prices.
She told local El Bilad TV:
“We [women] could help our country, which made sure we had an education and which gave us an opportunity of having a career, [by] transferring our full pay to [the treasury] – it is the least we could do.”
It is a rather surprising suggestion from a woman who is not only a minister of women affairs but is also herself a career lawyer. Her statement is causing quite a stir on social media as people describe her views as shameful.