Today is International Women’s Day

And as a person of Middle Eastern descent I am so glad to see on Yahoo that Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan is taking a lead role in showing the world how women should be treated. See here where the queen asks, “What are you doing to empower women in your community?” On that note it’s also a good opportunity to look at the enormous progress that’s being made across the entire Arab world when it comes to the treatment of women. For example, consider what happens to a teenage girl who refuses to marry her father’s elderly business partner. In the old days she’d get some serious punishment. Now she only gets this.

Other signs of progress:

1. Rape victims no longer abandoned by families and set on fire. Just abandoned by families.

2. Genital mutilation now confined to outer labia.

3. Age of consent raised from six to eight. (Seven with permission of parents.)

4. Full head scarves optional on “casual Friday.”

5. Women allowed to drive, as long as a man is behind the wheel, steering and using the pedals.

6. Forced sex remains a punishable offense, but women involved face shorter sentences.

7. Beatings for talking back to husband now restricted to arms and legs. And torso. And head.

8. Women who speak to men to whom they are not related are no longer shot, only jailed. (Except in cases where they are jailed and then shot.)