The Strongest Man In The World is a Woman

Lily Habesha
Posted September 18, 2016 from Ethiopia

Your sister is a woman.

Your mother is a woman.

Though, respect your wife.

Respect your girlfriend.

A group of singers sang the above lyrics in Amharic ( Ethiopian language). There was a lot of campaign to stop abusing the women. I don’t know what kind of change brought to us in the community.

In my community, girls and women are being abused in many ways.

Let me start from my mornings. I ride on a collective taxi to go to work. Passengers pay their fare. Many of the conductors give the change to the male once first. They delayed the women’s balance or give them after everybody served. Sometimes, you forget your change and walk to your office. The young taxi conductor discriminate us. One day a very little conductor keeps my change to the last stage. I keep nagging him to give me. He even gave the balance s of me who bored the taxi after me. He asked me to get out of the minivan on the last stage. He put a note in my hand and the driver speed up. The 5 birr (Ethiopian currency) note was cut and useless. I pissed off.

While I walk from the taxi stage to my office, I see a lot of things. Numerous shoe shine boys, keep insulting any girl who hurries to work. The business men on the street corners call names to annoy women. They say very ugly abusive words to the girls. If a girl asks to buy something and do not buy it, the business man will say: “ You’re not a buyer. I can tell you you’re idling around. Don’t come here again. Why’re you wasting my time carrying empty bag?” Oh my…!!!

If people come across with a guy who gossips around, they say: “He’s gossiper like a woman.” Everyone gossips, men and young boys too. Who label us with it?

There are men who are fearful. They can’t defend themselves when they are accused with lies. They don’t dare to stand for their children when they’re attacked by others. When trouble comes, they want to hide under their mothers dresses. People call these men: “He has no courage, he a woman.” I don’t know why people say things like this. We’d Queen Tayitu, Queen Zewditu…for our examples. They fought in a war, and they manage their houses. They left us huge examples. I know a woman here in Addis. She is Ethiopian, a writer, a big government official, owns a nonprofit organization to help women. One day she stacked in a traffic jam. The guy in the next car insulted her for no reason. “ She’s blocking my way, with a car she’s been bought by a man.” The driver doesn’t know who this lady is. She jumped out of her car and opened his. She grabbed him by the collar and attacked him. She didn’t give him a chance even to protect himself. Then she told him: “This car was not bought by a man to me but I sweat to buy it.” Though, do they want to call this lady a man?

Tomorrow, early in the morning, I’ll invite her to join World Pulse if she is not yet a member.

Since I was a child, I see girls harassed by their brothers. They are insulted by the neighborhood boys. There is no girl who calls a boy on the street and insults him. No woman abuses any man in the market place. Why are they respected while they’ve no morals?

In the family, girls must help with the house chores. Boys are allowed to study and play as much as they want. If the girl asks him to help her washing the dishes, clean the house or to cook; she will be told… “ Do you think he’s a woman to help you with the house chores?” this issue causes many of the girls not to succeed in their education.

I had a friend when I was a teenager. Her father was an ambassador of Ethiopia in abroad. Her mom was also well educated. One evening, the mother invited me to give me some orders. I used to sale her crossed stitches embroidery stuffs to hang on the wall. When she left me in the sitting room to make tea for me, I browse all the crystals on the table. Something was written on all of them. I read a coutation:

“Behind every great man, there’s a great woman.”

“ The strongest man in the world is, A WOMAN.”

We are the strongest MAN. That is us.

Comments 8

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helen.ng
Sep 20, 2016
Sep 20, 2016

I absolutely love this post!! I especially love the third-last phrase: "Behind every great man, there is a great woman."

We need to keep in mind that women are extremely strong, what with the abuse and criticisms faced each and every day. For example, girls and women are consistently belittled and blamed for men's behaviour. We are victims of harassment, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Women are judged no matter what they do; if they wear too little clothing, they are cat-called and called sluts; if they wear too much, they are too prudent and too conservative. Either way, no woman ever seems perfect to society, or should I say, to men.

Women and girls have struggled through the most in life. They are so strong - they are true role models. They do not deserve the criticisms and harassments thrown their way. 

Lily Habesha
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 22, 2016

Dear Helen,

Thank you for your comment. I use to think women in the west don’t face such kind of problems like us. There’s no life which is problem free. But, the community gives woman additional troubles on her daily life’s struggle. On top of that, man mistreats and abuses her.

In spite of all this, woman can do wonders. They are the great supporters to their men. They’re the backbone of their homes. When family breaks up, most of the women stick with children, when very few of the men do this. Women scarify their lives to their children. I can say a lot about women, but where the recognition?

We’ve to make this known to the whole world.

Mulitti

Judey
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 22, 2016

It is unfortunate that the society associates some weaknesses with women. For instance, a statement like "he gossips like a woman" is so common even in my country it demeans women. Gossip should just be gossip and not a woman attribute. It takes a while for a society that belittles women to forget the vice and start treating them with dignity. This change is hastened when there are women, and men as well, who stand up and speak for the rights of women in the society and in the process act as role models. Are there any initiatives in Ethiopia that empower the girl child and encourage her to stand tall against the odds? It will be great to see everybody treated with the respect they deserve.

Cheers,

Lily Habesha
Sep 22, 2016
Sep 22, 2016

Hi Judey,

I don't understand why the community lable us with all those negative name, but we don't deserve that. We don't have an organization to empower a girl child to stand tall.

Hopefully we will have one in the future.

Thank you

Mulatwa

Jane Frances Mufua
Oct 02, 2016
Oct 02, 2016

The strongest man in the world is a woman indeed. I am always an unsolicted teacher to school men on the strength and potentials of women. Until tomorrow the men are always trying to keep women down because of fear.

Thank you for sharing

Judey
Oct 14, 2016
Oct 14, 2016

For sure Mulatwa, it will be great to have someone whom girls and women can look up to and identify with so as to be encouraged to reject bad treatment by the society. Change takes some time and now that there is someone, like you, who recognises that there is an issue that needs to improve, then we are on the right path.

Cheers,

Oct 19, 2016
Oct 19, 2016
This comment has been removed by the commenter or a moderator.
Tamarack Verrall
Nov 05, 2016
Nov 05, 2016

Hi Mulatwa,

I so enjoyed reading your story. It gripped me the whole way through, loving that you were challenging all these unfair acts that happen every day. What an ending. And that you got such strong messages from another woman! Thanks for a great read.

In sisterhood,

Tam