We just marked the International Women’s Day 2017. At a time when we have made substantial progress in advancing women’s rights and voice in the society, it is alarming to see the force that is also threatening to reverse the results of these efforts. It is especially very frustrating to see that some men still don’t acknowledge the challenges that women face in a patriarchal society.
This piece, which is largely a rant, was inspired by several posts I saw making the rounds on social media by men asking when will international men’s day be marked. This statement right here is a mockery to all the women (and men) who came before us and who had to fight day and night for the rights that we enjoy today as women. This made me real angry. Just how serious do we take the plight of women in the community?
Well, this is for the men who on a day that is specially set aside for us as a people to reflect on the conditions that women are subjected to are asking when we will stand and mark a day for them. We will mark the International Men’s Day when:
- Young girls and young women have access to education
- Young girls are not forced into early marriages
- Women are not raped because ‘they asked for it’
- Women are not harassed at work by bosses who, yes you got it, happen to be men.
- Women’s educational aspirations are not met with ‘you can get educated but not ‘too educated’
- A way of dressing is not used to justify sexual abuse
- Women have choices and freedoms
- Jane, working the same job as John, earns her dues equally
- Women are elected to political office and influence policy
- Women decide when -and if- to get married or to have kids
- Young girls dream they can be anything they want
- The community allows these dreams to flourish
- Poverty is no longer gendered
I could go on and on but you get the point. We have a long way to go to achieve gender equity. As I said on a chat that I hosted to mark the International Women’s Day, the process to get there is very much collaborative between women and men. I doubt shadowing a day that is set aside for women of the world with hints of mockery will get us there.
Btw, International Men's Day is a thing. Wonder why these men haven’t heard of it.