Hasidic women fight for gender equality while saving lives

by Phil Schneider

Should Hasidic women set up their own emergency medical service? Well, some people say no. It’s simply not done and therefore this is a taboo issue. However, some women reached the decision that it is time for a change. They are right.

Hasidic Norms

Generally speaking, in Hasidic communities, husbands and wives and men and women who are close relatives of one another interact freely with one another.  However, other men and women have very little interaction  in order to safeguard the sanctity of the home.  This is a proven success.  The divorce rate in Hasidic communities is rather low – much lower than almost any other community.  Generally speaking, families are indeed happy in most Hasidic communities.  So, why rock the boat?

Sanctity of women who need emergency treatment

There is a problem that is not often discussed.  Emergency treatment is something we all hope we’ll never need to have.  However, most people – at some point or another – need an ambulance and EMT’s to help them.  The elderly call ambulances much more than young people.  One of the first things that emergency responders need to do is to figure out the exact areas of the wound or medical issue and the extent of the severity of the situation.  Any EMT will tell you that clothing is often the main obstacle.

It is clear that a woman would prefer that a woman treat them just as a man would prefer that a man would treat them.  OF course, the most important thing is to receive quick and proper treatment.  But, if women train to be EMTs, then that is exactly what will transpire.

These Hasidic women are not looking to do this for feminist reasons.  They are looking to do this in order to safeguard the modesty of women who require treatment.  Yes – change is often a slippery slope.  But, this is welcome change that will positively impact on many generations.

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