Men and boys as allies in achieving women's rights: Count me in as an ally!

Otto Mponda
Posted April 10, 2013 from United Kingdom
Otto Tendayi Mponda
Otto Tendayi Mponda
Otto Tendayi Mponda (1/1)

My heart pounded in excitement. As the guys quizzed me in the gym, curious to know why l was suddenly looking happier and appearing more content than ever in my life. “Have you finally met someone special?” One asked in a very suspicious manner. “Who is she?, is she anyone we know?”, flew more questions before I could even address the first ones. “Yes, there is someone new in my life, but unfortunately you wouldn't know her!” I answered with a cheeky grin on my face to the surprise of many who were in the largely male packed gym.

“Tell us, tell us now!” they curiously roared, as if I was delaying to reveal the name of the winner of a much awaited zillion dollar lottery grand prize. “Its bacause of WorldPulse” I replied in a very excited tone. “Winnett who?” asked another. "WorldPulse not Winnett" I replied with a giggle.. “Well, WorldPulse is an online platform that allows individuals, in particular women, to advocate for the empowerment of the girl child”, I replied. “It allows grassroots women leaders to address pertinent issues that affect women in general and gives women the chance to voice their opinions online, share inspiring stories and learn from each other's own experiences”.

Indeed dear reader, you should have seen their faces as l revealed my interest in being the Voice of the Future for WorldPulse. Every man at that very moment was inspired by how I could involve myself with such a women oriented organisation, being male myself. Well, the reason here is simple and will remain simple for many years to come as I truly believe that in order for us to be able to curb such problems as domestic violence against women, we also need to involve the male folk in the advocacy. We need to stand together, both men and women, to protect our rights to peace and gender equity. And have more men speaking up to one another, in as much as women would speak up to one another, against issues like rape, violence towards women, unforced marriages, female genital mutilation and the bad idea of viewing women as sexual objects.

What greatly inspires and drives me to be the Voice of the Future for WorldPulse is the current increase in cases of rape and violence towards women around the world in particular some Asian countries where women's rights are religiously sidelined. A recent case following a series of others being that of Ludhiana in India where a woman was publicly bashed by four men with iron rods as spectators looked on simply because she had demanded her money back from one of the men she had lent. The link to the video is as follows though viewers discretion is advised: http://www.niticentral.com/2013/04/17/ludhiana-four-men-beat-up-woman-in... It is such kind of social injustices towards women, and other instances where the police actually beat up women who come to report cases of domestic violence, that I have taken a stand and decided to be the Voice of Peace and Gender Equality to all men who still abuse women. I urge all men to be wise enough to know that it is against humanity to rape and beat up women. Men, lets us be allies in the fight towards women rights than being enemies of progress.

It really takes a brave man to speak on women's rights and it is within my personal vision for the future to see more men making their voices heard in their support of women rights and actively creating a united front against all forms of violence towards women thereby creating a safer environment for our children and generations to come.

Voices of Our Future Application: Your Journey and Vision

Comments 34

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  • Aminah
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    In indeed takes a brave man to speak for us women. I very strongly believe that we need men to be sensitized to gender issues if we want to bring about a meaningful change. Unless men understand and acknowledges our agonies and insecurities and our strengths it will be like working against a huge force. But if we can get men involved the journey will be so much smoother.

    I have met a few men who are gems when it comes to gender equality debate. Unfortunately the percentage is like 1 out of 100 :)

    Thank you for being you.

    Regards, Aminah

  • Patricia Lindrio
    Apr 11, 2013
    Apr 11, 2013

    we do need more men like you! its a bonus! Thank you!

  • Sangita Thapa
    Apr 12, 2013
    Apr 12, 2013

    Impressive! totally awesome! Thank you so much for being brave and speaking out. I hope more men would join WP, share their ideas and yet more would act for the change. Respect to your voice!

  • radiocami
    Apr 12, 2013
    Apr 12, 2013

    We need more men such as yourself becoming in-touch with the divine feminine side that lies dormant within them. In this way and with you sharing your story, other men will be inspired to do the same, helping us, the whole of society, and in the process learning about themselves. It feels like Africa is going to go through a revolution of love sooner than we think! Welcome to our circle and all the best in the application process!

    camila

  • Olutosin
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    Whaoh, you kept me in suspense too.

    Bravo!!!

  • bhavna
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    Kudos to you for being the voice we so very desire to find. First step to solving any issues is accepting it exits and is not just a hype in the name of feminism as many folks would like to think. Thank you so much, we need more sane voices like you, there are many but it needs to be multiplied! Best wishes :)

  • Lea
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    This is beautifully written and so inspiring! Thank you Otto for showing that there are men who are realy advocates of women's rights and who believe in gender equality. I really enjoyed the dialog at the beginning of your essay which then lead into your sharing your views about how men and women can work together in order to create a dialog and develop understanding of each other. You also evoked an important piece of the solution: encouraging more men to become advocates and to educate each other about women's rights, become role models, and raise awareness in their communities about violence against women. Even though we have a long way to go before women and men become truly equal, it goes me hope when I read about men like you who want to make a difference and who are very brave to speak out and to show support for women and girls. To you, I say thank you and keep up the good work!

  • Olanike
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    You are so, so different, inspirational and a pace setter. You rolled it all up in your piece and I appreciate your commitment to helping other men to stop seeing women as objects or tools; but rather to relate with and treat females with dignity. I can imagine what the world would be like if every man shared your wisdom and understanding. I enjoyed reading the post and feel I should read it over and over again. May be too, share it other men. Thank you for inspiring me!

    Greengirl.

  • surfgirl-CA
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    Hi, Otto -- I am SO happy to hear more men here. Becz when you speak to your fellow gym buddies & other men/boys, they will listen to you in a different way than to most women. It's just true. You are a stealth agent! A secret weapon. LOL.

  • Maya Norton
    Apr 13, 2013
    Apr 13, 2013

    Hillary, what a wonderfully comic and enticing read. Congratulations on the new "woman" in your life. I'm glad that she has made you feel so happy and content.

    I'm really enjoying your contributions - thank you for your voice and the work you are doing on behalf of women everywhere.

    Warm regards,

    ~ Maya

  • Rumbidzai Dube
    Apr 14, 2013
    Apr 14, 2013

    I'm impressed and wanna know more about what you are doing to change Zimbabwean men's attitudes towards sexual violence. Currently doing work on societal perceptions of rape and another on me's experiences with sexual violence. Email me please rdube@rau.co.zw

  • oluwayomi osuntokun
    Apr 14, 2013
    Apr 14, 2013

    You are my HERO ! You just made my day . Now with men as allies gender equality will soon be the in -thing ! God bless you .Wish you success as you spread this good news to other men .

  • Otto Mponda
    Apr 17, 2013
    Apr 17, 2013

    Thank you for all your thoughtful comments l'm surely learning a lot from you all.

  • Wendy Stebbins
    Apr 15, 2013
    Apr 15, 2013

    You are a courageous wonderful role model and great soul to do this. Please keep it up. You have power. I agree with you that in order for women to have equal rights,etc. we MUST somehow get through to men. You would know how to do this better than I. You seem to have such a charisma with men, did you ever consider (or would you), doing a men's group weekly or something like that for the purposes of each helping other men as you have helped them think differently? And in this way build an underground and spread the ideas you believe in regarding men and women.

    You sure know how to get their attention.

    Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together),

    Wendy

  • Otto Mponda
    Apr 16, 2013
    Apr 16, 2013

    Thank you Wendy that is true. More and more grassroots initiatives are being put in place to reach out to a wider audience of Zimbabwean men through various initiatives aimed at making men aware of why practices like domestic violence towards women need to end..and many of these have proved to be effective. Such initiatives include road shows and street theatrical productions from popular groups such as Magariro Street Theatre among others. Since the majority of Zimbabwean men spend their time hustling in the streets...what better way than to use street theatre as our mouthpiece, which has proved to be more appealing to most men though having men groups still remains an essential medium that needs to be explored in depth. We will continue to push forward and educate more men who are still in the dark.. will try to up load some links here revealing how neighbourhood street theatre, with themes as domestic violence, child abuse, women's rights etc, has mushroomed in Zimbabwe over the years,

  • Wendy Stebbins
    Apr 16, 2013
    Apr 16, 2013

    Hi,

    The street theatre, etc. is a great idea and I had no idea such things were going on. An amazing new twist. It sounds like you are really connecting with men in a way they can comprehend and accept and I believe that will make a huge difference. Such an innovative idea. Look forward to the links.

    Ubuntu,

    Wendy

  • Otto Mponda
    Apr 17, 2013
    Apr 17, 2013
  • surfgirl-CA
    Apr 24, 2013
    Apr 24, 2013

    thx for the link, Hillary - love being able to see video of an event/project. Wld also like to see the audience reactions. Great to feel like I can be there watching the play. Best, T.

  • Wendy Stebbins
    Apr 16, 2013
    Apr 16, 2013

    Hi,

    Good luck with the men's group. It seems a nonthreatening way to begin an underbelly of understanding among men who can spread the word without making a big fuss at this time on the outside. Sort of like Gandhi,. Actually, Hillary Clinton has developed an underbelly of women in places like Afghanistan, etc. to keep the women's movement growing powerful after the US completely leaves.

    Yes, I look forward to hearing how Zim is taking up this issue with the men. And good luck with the men's group. I think that sounds energizing, fun and helpful.

    Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together),

    Wendy

  • TJ
    Apr 16, 2013
    Apr 16, 2013

    I agree - it doesn't take women alone - it takes men and I'm happy to see a male in the midst!!!

    TJ

  • surfgirl-CA
    Apr 24, 2013
    Apr 24, 2013
  • Activechica
    Apr 20, 2013
    Apr 20, 2013

    As World Pulse tour manager for the last 2 years, it has been good to see an increasing number of men like you step forward and offer their time, skills and support to the World Pulse community and grassroots women leaders. I applaud your vision to broaden that support and make the world to a more peaceful, equitable place for all. Welcome!!

  • Activechica
    Apr 20, 2013
    Apr 20, 2013

    Hello again,

    I may have missed this in your writings, yet am curious what are the circumstances that have led to your awakening and to be passionate about gender equality?

    Thank you. Leslie

  • Tina van Leuven
    Apr 21, 2013
    Apr 21, 2013

    Hi Otto, What a great story! I was drawn in and curious from your first sentence and love the way you brought this all together. Yes... "It really takes a brave man to speak on women's rights and it is within my personal vision for the future to see more men making their voices heard in their support of women rights and actively creating a united front against all forms of violence towards women thereby creating a safer environment for our children and generations to come."

    As Leslie asked in her comment, I would also be curious how your personal vision has been inspired and what drives you to be a Voice for gender equality? I totally love your style and can see how you will be, and already are, a great inspiration and change agent amongst the men and thereby the women. Way to go!

    I look forward to reading more!

    joyful blessings, Tina

  • Otto Mponda
    Apr 21, 2013
    Apr 21, 2013

    Thank you all for your recent comments. Well, to be honest what really inspires and drives me to be a Voice for gender equality as well as an advocate against all forms of abuse towards women is the current increase in cases of rape and violence towards women around the world in particular some Asian countries where women's rights are religiously sidelined. A recent case being that of Ludhiana in India where a woman was publicly bashed by four men with iron rods as spectators looked on simply because she had demanded her money back from one of the men she had lent. The link to the video is as follows though viewers discretion is advised http://www.niticentral.com/2013/04/17/ludhiana-four-men-beat-up-woman-in...It is these kind of social injustices towards women where the police actually beat up women who come to report cases of domestic violence that I have taken a stand and decided to be the Voice of Peace and Gender equality to all men who still abuse women. I urge all men to be wise enough to know that it is against humanity to rape and beat up women. Men, lets us be allies in the fight towards women rights than being enemies of progress..

  • binapatel33
    Apr 21, 2013
    Apr 21, 2013

    Thank you for sharing your vision with us. It is extremely refreshing to see a "voice" that praises women's rights and gender equality. Your thoughts are extremely refreshing, welcoming, and most importantly encouraging. As a woman, I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts. The next step will be for you to gather together your male friends to help women become self empowered and fight for equal rights.

  • Frances Faulkner
    Apr 21, 2013
    Apr 21, 2013

    Hillary 24,

    Bravo for your voice. I have now read posts by two men in one night and it makes me happy, the idea of gender falling away and all of us working together as individuals to make the world better. Who are the women and men in your own life who inspire you? Why are you comfortable and passionate on this path that differs from many of your colleagues? Tell us your stories.

    Thank you for doing what you do. I greatly enjoyed your piece and take solace in your words.

    Frances

  • Nicole.Staudinger
    Apr 22, 2013
    Apr 22, 2013

    Very, very well put. I am going to share your post with the men in my life in order to encourage them to catch on to your enthusiasm and integrity. You give me hope.

  • Wendy Stebbins
    Apr 25, 2013
    Apr 25, 2013

    Hi Hillary24,

    I think of you as an umbrella. The covering is your cause. The spokes are the various ways you achieve your cause. lIke

    1. street dancing

    2. Men's group

    3.

    4.

    Etc.

    I know a guy in Livingstone Zambia that has a Mens Empowerment group. It seems this might be one. good, nonthreatening way to get men to change other men's minds. Each month or week each man could bring another man as a guest. And on and on. In that way perhaps the change could spread. I will be happy to give you his email if you would like to contact him.

    Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together),

    Wendy

  • Otto Mponda
    Apr 25, 2013
    Apr 25, 2013

    @everyone, thank you so much all for your support, lm very inspired by it@ Wendy I like your idea Wendy, l will send you an invite here on WorldPulse so you could inbox me his email, lm sure he would really inspire and guide me with advice regarding setting up more empowerment groups for men...

  • Wendy Stebbins
    Apr 25, 2013
    Apr 25, 2013

    Hi Hillary24.

    I beleive you will inspire each other. Will await the invite.

    Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

    Wendy

  • Wendy Stebbins
    May 08, 2013
    May 08, 2013

    Hi Zim Man,

    How are you doing Otto?

    I checked with Michael in Zambia and he got all your info so let's HOPE he gets in touch with you.

    Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you and the wonderful heart you have and work you do.

    Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

    Wendy

  • Otto Mponda
    May 09, 2013
    May 09, 2013

    Hello Wendy and thank you for your message. I'm glad to hear from you and am also delighted with the help and support you have been giving me especially with regards to facilitating contacts with Michael regarding advice on Men's Empowerment Group..

    Ubuntu Zim man, Otto

  • Wendy Stebbins
    May 09, 2013
    May 09, 2013

    Keep me posted, Zim man.

    Ubuntu,

    Wendy