Seka challenges traditional gender roles when it comes to the important task of building peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Nothing lasting or permanent can ever be built without women.”
A woman, in general, is a person of value in African society. It is thanks to her that society has been built. It is our duty to make women understand that even though we suffer from being subjected to prejudice, we must, like men, be concerned with the security issues all around us.
Men also need to work together with women in order to maintain security and keep the peace. Women should be included in any security process. We cannot ignore that women are real agents of change in society.
As women, our participation is indispensable to the establishment of any true and lasting peace. By nature, we have a heart that is compassionate to the sorrows of others. We hope for things to go well for others. Women often see things in finer detail while men see things from a general perspective.
However inferior the status of the woman may appear, she represents the nation. Nothing lasting or permanent can ever be built without women.
It is obvious that the starting place for action is in the family. Women are the departure point in society, the point at which all things begin.
In our tradition, it has always been said: "Everyone owes a debt to their father and twice the debt to their mother." There is a Peuhl poet who says, “With a woman nothing works, but without a woman—all is lost.”
Women are not unfit to do this or that in society. It is only custom that holds women back. I invite women to become aware of the chasm into which our customs have thrown us. We must rise up to play our own roles.
As they say, “What a woman wants, God also wants.” I say to each of you now: Women, educate yourselves. Have the wherewithal to make security decisions for yourselves. Take your place alongside men to bring peace into the world.
* Translated from French by Nana Nash
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