Patriarchy Speaking through Feminine Voices The biggest challenge to bring about strategic change that will empower people is the entrenched worldview that the life of the individual is defined and determined by others. From a gender perspective, patriarchy is the determining factor in how we interact or express ourselves as women. Patriarchy reinforces cultural beliefs and influences development discourses. Most women do not have formal education and their voices are suppressed to express their lived realities. There is tendency to speak for patriarchy even if it is through feminine voices to continue to oppress women. I will narrow my discussion on how the media manifest such patriarchal voices, because the empowerment of women cannot be real without women’s ability to express their feelings and to speak out in making positive change. Most media outlets do not give the strategic issues of women priority and where available, they tend to patronize women and their issues. Programmes like “Ideal Wife” on national television moderated by a female reinforced an ideal woman in a marital home being the best house keeper, cook and dresses well to make the husband happy. It reinforces traditional belief that a woman in the home is immature and the husband is the decision maker on strategic issues affecting the whole family. While we acknowledge the attempts in addressing gender issues in the media, a lot more needs to be done to push the media discourses on women in line with the vision for women’s empowerment. I was privileged to be invited on “Ideal Wife” and my first intervention was to dismantle the title because it was constructed from a male point of view. Marriage is about partnership therefore the concern should be an Ideal family where both partners take responsibility in addressing equality and justice. Women’s empowerment starts with women having a say in what happens to their lives and the space to be heard. Most women literate or not do not have control over their own lives; what happens to them is determined by others, mostly to fulfil men’s desires. Those who have a voice to speak out for themselves do not have the space to do so in the relevant context. It must be realized that women have the intellect to receive, analyse and respond to information in their own language. Working with women at the grassroots level, the need and desire for women to have the space to speak out is recognized. Pulsewire is an opportunity to re-echo the voices of women through our own. It is hope that the opportunity may arise for someone with the resources to take action and support us to achieve our vision to give grassroots women the alternative to speak for themselves in their own words and in their own voices. The challenge is for us to be aware of the patriarchal voices disguised through the feminine voices in using media for social change. We have to dismantle the patriarchal voices being re-echoed through feminine voices.


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Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.


Oh how I loved this post of yours! Let me tell you a story. I was in university dorm. In next room was a girl (physics major, topper of the class) who told me, when she got mail letters, parcels etc, they would be opened by her father. My surprise turned into a shock when she said 'I think its fine. After all, what secret can I have? My father is the family head, he has the right'. She was just not ready to accept that its not about secrets, but more about one's rights to privacy, individual choice etc. But I did argue.

I am trying to imagine you in the studio! There must have been moments when you just wanted to shake someone hard and drive home the simple point: get real, for god's sake! I know they wont be waking up so soon, but I know you will keep arguing. Best wishes!

Stella Paul Twitter: @stellasglobe


You're right. Privacy is not always respected in most of our societies, especially when it is about family. You bet I miss sitting in the studio and dealing with the public on issues. I now do it through my work with GAMCOTRAP. Love hearing your comments!


Amie, You have amazing insight and wisdom and I loved reading your post. Oh, and how right you are! Women have determined their worth, their place, and their obligations according to the word of men for far too long. Unfortunately, patriarchy is not only enforced by men, but also by we women! But you know this already...

After reading your story, I'm confident that things are on their way to being different, however. Because of women like you! Keep the great posts coming!

In sisterhood,



You have the voice of a strong advocate for women, and understand well the complexities and challenges of the world. You are right that men and women are at their best in partnership, and yet few women have that situation. I would love to hear more examples of your work.

Best, Frances

Dear Frances,

Thanks for taking time to read my article. I belief in the advocacy and activism to empower women through the media. I'm current working with a leading women's organization and creating alternative to patriarchy is our aim to empower women in addressing cultural barriers. Please visit us at Stay connected

Best regards,



You have the voice of a strong advocate for women, and understand well the complexities and challenges of the world. You are right that men and women are at their best in partnership, and yet few women have that situation. I would love to hear more examples of your work.

Best, Frances


Your point is very interesting... And the most important element to achieve this, is not only for women to have the space to speak out as far as the social aspect is concerned, but they also need to be empowered intellectually and financially to achieve this goal...Your advocacy that a woman should not still be seen only to fulfill a domestic role is relevant...Best..Aimable



Thanks very much for the comments. You're right that we need empowerment both intellectually and financially to achieve our goal. we shall keep on doing what we can until we have what we want.