I have never been as irritated as I was this past week. I was in Johannesburg, South Africa, on August 8 and it was a public holiday. It was Women’s Day and I thought that the day would go very differently from how it went.
I thought it would be a day to pay tribute to women for all their achievements and to honour who they are. Boy was I horribly mistaken! The day seemed like a second Mother’s Day and people were being told on radio, to make breakfast for their mothers and what not.
What irritated me the most however, was the fact that the few women that were interviewed on radio went on tangents of different kinds when they were asked about the meaning of Women’s Day.
Women have a tendency of being very emotional especially when they are not supposed to be. One of the women that was being interviewed was asked what the day meant to her and she talked about how women are equal to men and how women are fighting for equal rights and she went on to say that she wishes “that all men would just step down from leadership and influential positions and give us a chance to do things our way. What a man can do, we can also do”.
I was horrified not only by the platform that she had chosen to air out her views, but also on the link that she had made to the day.
You see, us women really are a vulnerable group because of different things. Blaming everything that happened to our great grandparents to date on patriarchy is really not progressive. Once the blame game starts, there is no moving forward.
The problem with blaming patriarchy for everything is that it exhausts energy and steals zeal. It feels good to blame someone for anything really because it takes away responsibility from you. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help. There are many organisations that have poured a lot of investment into programmes that have an objective of emancipating women but their financial efforts have failed dramatically. After I heard this woman on radio, I understood why.
Before organisations donate any funding, they investigate the project objectives etc. The reason why they sometimes don’t follow up on the progress of the programmes they would have funded is because they view their donations as a means to an end. It is well known that companies donate to non-governmental organisations to avoid the steep taxes that they have to pay.
So, when they see programmes that they don’t take seriously, they fund just for the sake of it and never check the progress. Meanwhile, women with the “blame it all on patriarchy” mindset will go on talking about how nobody checks the progress of the advancement of their issues! It is unfortunate to say the least.
Women should stop fighting for equal rights but focus more on equity and social justice issues. While it seems admirable to other women to be so radical, radicalists seldom achieve much. A more tolerant, more inclusive approach has been proven to achieve much more than any radical approach has.
Fighting has never helped, especially if it is aimless and emotional. All it does is make you feel better but the situation remains the same. How many years have women been fighting for equal rights? How much progress has been made? A lot, well, in the legal fraternity. And I know for a fact that there have been fights, but they were not emotional fights. They were strategic and they achieved quantifiable things. The radical and name calling approach has only been dramatic and not as successful as the liberal one.
I know my readers are very opinionated and I love it! I also know that I will get a lot of feedback about this particular topic! I’m just being honest though.
We need to change our approach if we are to be taken seriously and achieve notable progress. When you get a platform, please use it responsibly instead of tapping into the equality game that you will never win. God, our Maker, did not make men and women equal so any energy invested into changing that is energy wasted.
Let’s dwell on social justice issues and move towards making the world a better place for our children, the next generation. Surely we can’t keep talking about equality for centuries while women remain in the same position that we were in terms of health, education and politics to mention but a few. Things must change and the responsibility lies in all women, in every speech we make at every opportunity we get. Use it wisely.
-Tsungai Chekerwa-Machokoto can be reached via email on [email protected]