What are the positions that women hold in our society as a whole? What places do women have within the social construct of our homes? Do we know? Would we like to know?

These are a few questions that have been going through my mind lately because of the realities that we seem to breathe in and unknowingly accept. It will definitely seem as though a train derailed and passed through the living room of your comfort zone once we are done with this reasoning, but do power through; it is worth the few minutes of your time because it is our truth.

It will come easily to anyone standing on the side-lines of any struggle, to judge, interpret or look at both sides of the situation. But not quite so easily when it is ourselves dealing with the situation, right? Absolutely!

Having to deal with certain emotions, bottled up anger and the many related traumatising events usually does not allow a clear vision in any situation, but it should not mean that the absence of said feelings or relationship cause a blind sight either. Or at least that is what we would hope to develop towards one another, as we endlessly evolve in a world that will continuously have us interact and share space as well as time on earth.

For starters, the late entry into the political game from female players is a no brainer, especially when the world’s super power, the United States, now has a first female candidate running for the presidential elections, and only in the twenty first century – not that other countries have not had women leaders.

The permissible entry of women in the voting arena is less than a century old and so many other arenas are simply closed off though seemingly open, in theory or in ideology – windows that in truth only give way to a mural of closed doors. Which is where our first questions come in: where do our women stand in our society and what positions do they have within our social construct? In most instances, women are the mothers, the wives, the sisters, and sometimes the cousins or the maids, with whom we share affectionate moments and good food with.

In other instances, it is the grandmothers, the great grandmothers, the aunts and the teachers that teach us to behave, be responsible, be moral and be caring, and so on. Is that not a reductive way of acknowledging the role that women play within the society though?

Can we all take a second to think about what it is that the women we know on a personal level do around us that make not only our lives and the community we live in a lot better, but more importantly the world as a whole.

What is it that makes us look down on the woman that breaks her back to raise children, send them to school, look after their nutrition, their clothing, their well-being; the one that ensures that homework is done even after a long day of laundry, cooking, cleaning and managing a household? What is it that disables us from looking up at this woman and neglecting her contributions to our society?

But it doesn’t stop there. What is it that makes us look down at the woman that is working a nine to five job to put food on the table and pay bills on the assumption that she neglected her duties as a woman? What is it that disables us from looking up at this woman for the hard work she is putting in and her contribution to our society? What are the duties of a woman in our opinion?

Looking into the psychological makeup of the world we live in, it might be a difficult set of questions to tackle given the limited space we have, but it doesn’t mean that we cannot raise the question and ponder on the matter at a later time.

If we know that there are statistically far more women than men in our societies, then why should we not be understanding of the political, economic and social power that they hold – lest we be afraid of just that? What is it that compels us to limit the freedom of the professions that women should uphold based on the understanding that there are genders assigned to each profession – really?

How is it ok for a man to be a gynaecologist (professionally and after having gone through close to a decade of medical school), when it is close to socially impossible for a woman to be a mechanic (notice how it is not even the profession of a pilot or an engineer that was cited as an example).

This divide is more than obvious and it is becoming a lot more visible throughout the endeavours that we see our women undertaking and their struggles are real. Do you think that the fact that a lot of people think that affirmative action has given women a lot of free room to roam has enabled slackers to blame women for opportunities they weren’t able to get (for their own slacking off)?

Where do you think we should all step in, as human beings to begin with and also citizens, in order to ensure that we are all treated equally regardless of our gender, our colour and our social status?

By Christine Yohannes
Christine Yohannes writes about social change, performs at public events and conducts poetry workshops in schools. She has established a monthly event entitled “poetic saturdays” - a platform created to allow everyone the freedom of self-expression through art. She can be contacted at poeticsaturdays@gmail.Com

Published on Oct 04,2016 [ Vol 17 ,No 857]



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