Fatma al-Shalak defends women's rights in the Syrian work force, al-Ayyam - 3 May 1962

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Fatma al-Shalak was a pioneer Syrian woman activist who wrote this article in response to an earlier one by Abdul Ghani al-Otari, publisher of the weekly magazine, Aldunia. Otari was complaining that women could now be found all over the work force, doing little to nothing and getting paid with high salaries. He accused them of being cosmetic in the work force, arguing that their drive to work was nothing but a "fashionable trend." Shalak noted that with the exception of the Ministry of Education, women were not everywhere in the work force, and only made up to approximately 3% of any ministry. They had to sit for employment examination just like men and were chosen for their merit and university or high school degree, rather than their looks. She adds: "A liberal woman is not one who goes from home to work and back. Rather, she is someone who ventures from home into public life, to work with men, on equal footing, on all levels." 

This article appeared in the Damascus daily, al-Ayyam, in May 1962.