Friday, December 05, 2008

Why women might never rule the world

I used to get angry when I heard the saying “This is a man’s world” and when guys at tertiary would tell us that women would never be leaders because we’re too emotional and think with our hearts instead of our heads, ‘til just this past Saturday, I refused to listen to this notion.

I set in a room packed with women of all classes and prominence and yet sitting in that room I felt ashamed and wanted to hide. For two days we set there pointing fingers, blaming everyone, talking at each other instead of with each other. We trampled on each other’s hearts, criticised and not once did we affirm each other as feminists should.

For centuries women have had problems working together, everyone wants the fame but not the struggle that comes with it. We want to shine by bringing others down. We suffer from a serious case of PHD (Pull Her Down) syndrome and yet we don’t see it. We see this with the many forms of feminisms that exist or have existed, it shows that when women disagree they see this as a reason to go off and form their own little groups; today we have womanists, revolutionarists and so forth and yet all we all want is the emancipation of all women.

Another good example is when the ANC Women’s League decided to collude against each other and vote for a man as President, a man we all know as the epitome of patriarchy and male chauvinism and yet our own mothers who claim to be fighting for women and women’s rights sold us all out and voted us straight 20 years back.

During the Zuma trial when he was accused of rape, there was evidence that “he slept” (he was acquitted of rape) with an HIV positive woman without using protection and took a shower so he wouldn’t get infected. When this happened, I thought the women of South Africa would wake up and see him for what he really is but to my shock and dismay there were women with “Zuma” T-shirts hurling slurs at the women who were on the other side with placards that read “Against her will, against the law”, it was our mothers that were burning the picture of the victim and spitting on it instead of standing together in solidarity.

How are we ever going to rule the world when we can’t even support each other through such painful times? Most African leaders have let women down for centuries and yet they continue to rule because of our votes. In countries where war is rife, women and children are the ones suffering the most…I watch the news everyday and my eyes water from the pain I feel for those women and I ask myself a question “how soon ‘til we’re next”, we sit here with all the opportunities to come together to make sure that our children and their children never face such famines, such pain, such hurt and scars that will be with them forever but yet we still fight over petty things like ownership and wanting things done our way.

When I set through that meeting, my heart was bleeding, not from the things said and not from the criticism but from the lack of thinking, the lack of timing and seeing such intelligent women reduce themselves to petty queens and a bunch that can’t stand change, especially when change happens without them and not on their terms.

The struggle within this sector is still a long way from revival and change will happen, younger activists and feminists will continue the struggle in their own terms, it’s inevitable and unstoppable and we should learn to let go and give credit where credit is due.
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