Saudi women sit in a stadium for the first time to attend an event in the capital Riyadh on Sept. 23, 2017, commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the kingdom. IMAGE: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

There is something happening in the Middle East and Arabic countries. Towards the end of 2017, serious reforms were introduced in Saudi Arabia. Women will be allowed to drive, and they are now permitted to attend sports and other festivities in stadiums. With the news of women being arrested for taking the wheel only months ago, this is a huge step forward.

In late December, it was announced that after 39 years women in Tehran who do not wear the hijab, as required by strict dress codes, will no longer be arrested. While this is also a good step, it is clear if it will be fully implemented and it is invalid outside the capital.

Many more stories from Arabic countries make the headlines in this issue. Girl cadets from Pakistan training for the top, Tunisian high school girls fighting for equality, and the ambivalent case of a young Palestinian girl facing charges for attacking an Israeli soldier.

The West has its very own problems to solve. Only weeks ago, #metoo and #timesup shook Hollywood and the European film industry. With a US President who brags about treating women like objects, a female BBC reporter publicly protesting against the unequal payment for male and female colleagues and the percentage of female representatives in the German Parliament dropping from 36% to 31% in the recent election. The comparison between women fighting for justice where there are barely any rights, and the struggle in countries that call themselves enlightened, shows that we cannot applaud our sisters in arms over there‚ and then turn a blind eye to the backward steps being taken in our own countries.

We must all be role models for each other in this never-ending fight, which at times, seems too daunting to win. The moral integrity of societies is always measured by how they treat their girls and women. Globally.

-Kristina Kraemer
Junior Editor
Girl News International

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