Power of Women Protest Movements

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In a piece on female protest movements, BBC Radio 4’s ‘Point of View’ mentions the all-woman humanitarian aid ship, the Mariam, heading for Gaza:

True equality will only have been achieved when women are punished as harshly as men for their misdemeanours, says Lisa Jardine in her Point of View column.

(Partial Transcript)

A ship carrying humanitarian aid, “manned” entirely by women, is ready to leave Lebanon on the first leg of its journey to Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli blockade. Named the Mariam (the Aramaic version of Mary), it has a multi-faith international passenger list, including doctors, lawyers and a group of American nuns.

History is full of unexpected precedents where human behaviour is concerned. Although the Mariam initiative has been dubbed by some a publicity stunt, the historian of 16th and 17th-Century Europe encounters groups of ordinary working women acting in a disorderly manner surprisingly often.


As for their contemporary counterpart – the women sailing on the Mariam – I have little doubt that their intention is to show the world that their attempt to help the beleaguered residents of Gaza is solely humanitarian.

They presumably anticipate a less hostile response from the crews of the Israeli ships sent to intercept them en route than that meted out to their male counterparts. Perhaps we should consider whether we might only have arrived at real equality when women are no longer accorded their traditional licence occasionally to misbehave with impunity.

Read the full transcript at the BBC website… (including a number of comments from listeners/readers)

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