by Caroline Mazibuko
We are well into the 20th century and women are still not getting any justice. They are inferior to men. Men are dominant, this stigma is passed on from generation to generation. Firstly there’s prejudice against one gender, there’s inequality in the workplace, in most cases promotions are given to men, 70% of men are managers while women have to ‘sleep’ their way to the top to accumulate such privileges.
Sexism is a major issue, till this day, women are not given equal respect. Women are shamed, sometimes physically punished for wearing revealing clothes. This usually happens in taxi ranks where men use sex talk to discuss a woman’s body inappropriately. They discuss how they will shove their manhood into a woman. Most of us experience this on a daily.
Domestic Violence – at least 70% of women are killed by their intimate partners, 20% of those are assaulted, this also includes emotional abuse. Men also sleep with their partners forcefully, In most cases, such cases are not taken seriously because ‘you chose to be in a relationship with that particular person’. Deny it all you want rape does occur in relationships and marriages. No means no! women do not owe anyone their bodies, not even their partners!
In some countries girls as young as 12 get married to men as old as 60, this often occurs in developing countries like India. Middle class or lower class families marry their little girls into high-class rich families so they can provide for the bride’s family. That is a very selfish act. That little girl is robbed of her life, her education, her childhood. That little girl is instructed to serve her husband, sleep with him, make sure he’s fed in return of the ‘bride price’ .
Today in India widows are still treated poorly. Widows are obliged to wear white for the rest of their lives and because it is said that a widow carries bad luck, they’re not allowed to work in a male-dominated area or anywhere for that matter. They’re robbed of an education, a career, a social life. Some are even kept at widows home( young and old), away from everyone. Women are instructed to stay at home and do domestic chores while men can have their careers.
This also brings me to how our African rituals practice inequality and discrimination against women especially in death and mourning situations, women mourn for a year while men only mourn for 3 months for the deceased partner. Women are obliged to dress in black or dark navy clothes while men tie a little cloth across the arm. Women cannot associate with people themselves as they carry bad luck, women are also instructed to sit behind everyone in public transports while men can sit anywhere. One of the interviewees also added that African widows are shamed for having intimate partners even after the mourning period is over usually by the spouse’s family while a man can have any woman they want after mourning because ‘a man has needs’.
I strongly feel that women should have equal power and should also be given powerful positions, for years we have pleaded for a female President but we’re not heard. Perhaps things will be better if we appoint a female President and maybe then women will have justice and maybe the stigma that ‘men are heads of the family ‘ will disappear. We’re all equal and we are deserving of the same respect men get.