Women’s empowerment means something else

Women’s Day. A day for women to remember the time when thousands of their mothers and grandmothers marched the streets to fight for their  freedom and to be recognised as equal to men. A day that allows women to be pampered and treated like the queens they are. A day that men can be found cowering in a shebeen somewhere and praying for the day to end, while they drink the most potent alcoholic beverage and lament the curse of being male on this day. A day when the president addresses a stadium filled with women on “going forward to the decade of African women” encouraging them to….hold on, back up a second. The president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, is addressing women on the government’s actions to make them equal to men? I find this to be a very ironic situation. On one hand, the president believes in the progressiveness of pushing for the equal rights of women everywhere, but on the other, he is married to four or five women (I can’t keep up anymore) and counting. In other words, as long as we speak for the rights of women, men can live a totally different life to what they verbally promote. I didn’t hear any objections from women about the president being married to so many women and yet he was speaking to the women about progress. Which tells me that they are more than willing to let men do what they want as long as there is a perceived likelihood of progress in general society. Then of course there are the many female ministers who are fighting to get 50% representation of women in top positions in business, breaking through the proverbial glass ceiling that women seem to be encountering – for them to go from secretary to CEO. A great and noble idea really; I don’t see any reasons I would object to women being in charge of a company. Yet I remain puzzled. What do women want? To be treated as equals to men? Or to be treated like princesses and queens? You can’t have both. If I am to treat women with respect, I cannot be expected to submit to the whims of womanhood on how men should behave. If they want me to be a gentleman, then in my mind they cannot be equal as they require special treatment (opening the door for them, giving up my seat, letting them go first in line, etc) which I do not afford the men. If they want me to treat them as equals, there should be no problems if walk through the door first, sit on the last available seat and not get up until I see the need and fight to be the first in line anywhere without thinking twice about it. The world has gone crazy (literally) over gender equality. In my humble (or not) opinion, we will not get there. Not because I believe women are inferior, but mostly because men will not see women as their equal, with good reason. You can’t tackle a woman, beat her up in boxing, slap her on the back (or buttocks in sport – that would be sexual harassment) stick fight or talk about cars and other women with a woman. In our aim to make everyone equal, we may lose sight of our differences and how being different does not mean we are unequal – God made us equal, but different. One can’t have their cake, with icing and eat it too. Unless you are the president.

One thought on “Women’s empowerment means something else

  • August 13, 2010 at 1:49 pm
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    Awu, Mr Ntsane, I like your points on this matter. Gender equality, as it is perceived, can’t be realistic, mainly because of the differences between the genders. True, a woman can run a company like a man (my CEO is very much a woman), and women can do a whole bunch of stuff that men can do as well. On the flipside, men can also do stuff that women do. I think that the issue is the way women are treated, and therein the problem lies. Men have failed women for so long that most women feel they don’t need us – the rise of the feminist revolution, so to say. It is rather women losing their perspective on their worth that drives them to want to be “equal” to men, than the actual desire to want to be equals. I believe the real outcry is not “we want to be equal”, but rather I believe the real desire is to be loved and cherished the way women were created to be treated. So to men like you Ntsane, keep it going. It’s men like you who will make a difference, because you are fulfilling the God-given role you were created to fulfil.

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