Being innovative within boundaries

There is a very good article in today's National paper (today being May 19, 2012) - the link is here .

The article is by Ayesha Almazroui and she writes of the cultural boundaries women have when working outside the home - and how some women have been innovative within those boundaries, and how some have seen the boundaries as restrictions to break free of...

We always have choices when we have boundaries, and I am NOT one for pushing the limits and always err on the side of caution (just ask my students) - but I have also been one who expressed my "Connieness" within boundaries. I worked for eight years in a uniform (with a degree in History - Canadian and History of Science there were no other options). There was a rule to wear black shoes, so I wore Doc Martins, but there was no rule on shoe laces so I wore bright red plaid ones. My boss told me they weren't allowed (also helped that he was dumb and I had memorised the collective aggreement) - yet he soon realised he couldn't stop me short of changing the collective aggreement to ban coloured shoelaces.

Now, I know that each and every Emirati expresses their individuality with their abayas and kandoras- the stiching, the cut, the fabric, the colour, the use of contrasting fabric for the girls - and I know that the "boundary" of the National dress allows for absolute freedom of expression - it might be subtle, but I am able to appreciate that individuality everyday.

The boundaries that some women have as to their choice of workplaces is similar - they are still able to express themselves and feel fulfilled when they are innovative. Whether it be negotiating for that appropriate workplace, starting a homebased business, becoming a writer, starting a home based tutoring "space" to teach reading and writing to older women - organising sessions with older women for their sisters and cousins, to hear stories from the past and learn the older traditions.

There are always ways to be innovative within boundaries - there are always ways to contribute to soceity and find fulfillment that do not involve money changing hands. I advise my male students - many who would prefer their future wives do not work outside the home - to let their wives be innovative, let them feel they have an identity of their own definition - be creative with her to find something acceptable to all.

To my female students who worry about not being able to work outside the home I advise them to find their talents and express them through positive action - my Mom would hold craft sessions with the neighbourhood children and volunteered to come into our primary classes to teach crafts -

Boundaries are there - it's a fact - it is not about fair or not fair - it is about what is, instead of using energy complaining, use that energy to be creative and as a source of inspiration - it will create less conflicts at home and within yourself and you might just have fun :)

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