Mariam, Mary and Maria, three women meeting for the first time in a women's seminar.

Maria, a single mom, attended as a favor for a friend she met on line.
Mariam, a client of a non-government organization for abused women was sent as a representative by the office.

Mary is a successful career woman who came because of an invitation by a prospective business client.

The workshop speaker stood and addressed the participants.

"The workshop we're having today is about the desires of a woman. As an exercise for today, we request each one in every group to meditate for few seconds on what you, as a woman, desired most in your heart. Then, one by one, for two minutes, share to the group what and why you desired such in your life. You can start by introducing yourself. Share a bit of your life .Then conclude with your desire in one word. Afterwards we encourage everyone in the group to discuss the merits of each one's desire. After the session, our facilitators shall go around to gather the small piece of papers where you have written what a woman's heart desires."

The three women looked at each other. Maria volunteered to be the first one to share.

"Hi, I'm Maria and I'm a single mom. I met my son's father when I was still in high school. We were too young then to legally get married, so we lived together for two years with my parents. It was great until my boyfriend found another woman that he eventually married. I had other boyfriends after him, wishing for my son to have a father. Unfortunately, it all started nice and good, each guy was kind with my son but eventually they move on to other girls. I tried to search for a husband in online dating sites but they all disappear after a few months. I guess my desire is to find a man who will truly love, marry me and be a father to my son. For women's hearts not to be played with".

Mariam stood next and told her story

"Hello. My name's Mariam. Let me tell you Maria, marriage life is a hell! I've been married for six years now and I have approached an organization for battered women to help me! My husband would just stay at home while I worked in a factory. Still he expects me to clean the house, cook his food and give him money for his and his drinking friends. Even when I'm tired or sick, he'd force me to perform in bed and satisfy his lust. Should I fail in any of these, he will beat me and accuse me of having adulterous relationship. I had enough when he pointed a gun at my face last week! What I desire is for women to be free from domestic violence!"

Mariam then broke down and the other two women hugged her to stop her tears.

Mary then stood to tell her own story.

"I'm so sorry about your pains. I'm Mary and I'm happy being single. I don't have time for personal relationship as I'm so busy being one of the top branch manager in our international company. Still I know how it feels to be with insecure men. I have reached my position the hard way. Working overtime without pay, suffering sexual harassment from my male boss, clients and even male officemates. I have been bypassed again and again by male junior executives. They all think a woman's place is just in the kitchen and on bed! Everyday I have to be careful not to make even a slight mistake. Something they expect and waiting for me to make. They are excused from meetings due to alcoholic hang-overs but I got a warning for going home once because of abdominal pain cramps. What I really wish for is to have equal rights for women in labor force.

Each one wrote their desires on the slip of paper in their hands.

Wide-eyed, Mary stared at the other two women.

"You know what? I just thought about it. If only men and society learns to respect us, working women will not have any problems about equality in the working force".

Maria smiled and nodded.

"If they only respect us, they would not see us as sexual playthings. They will care about our feelings and cherish us as rare treasures".

Mariam frowned.

"And if they respect us, they will not lift their hands against us. They will not dare to intentionally hurt us physically and emotionally. They will see as as valuable partners to support, assist and love with dignity".

The three women looked at each other and smiled shyly.

At the end of the workshop, the speaker was surprised to see three slips of paper with different desires crossed out. Underneath, in bold letters, written is the word




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