I was born and raised in a country that discriminates against women in various aspects. I cannot claim to fully understand the struggles and challenges that women – especially African women face on a daily basis. I feel guilty and ashamed each time I get educated by a woman in her fight for equality. I have also learnt that feeling guilty or ashamed is not the solution to the problem.
The 2021 international women’s day theme is “choose to challenge”. As a man who understands that women are a valuable part of society:
- I challenge myself to be open to learning more about how to treat women and protect their rights.
- I challenge myself to make a contribution in changing the narrative for future generations; by bringing up my daughter with pride and giving her equal opportunities.
- I like to challenge my friends who are parents to join me in bringing up their kids in an environment that does not discriminate against the girl child.
- I like to call on my male friends to choose to challenge the status quo – where some men treat women as second-class citizens, or servants or belongings.
- Finally, I challenge women who are leading the fight for equal rights to use the approach of teaching/education – you would be surprised that many (both men and women) have been brought up to see some of the abuses against women as normal. There are also many men working towards securing women’s rights – I applaud you.
As an accountant and a skills development champion, focusing on financial management, I am inclined to touch on financial independence and how this affects the plight and rights of women.
Some men use the title of, financial provider, to abuse women and vice versa. Some women have been groomed to expect men to take care of them financially. This breeds all kinds of abusive tendencies within relationships. When someone feeds you, he/she will want to control you. We live in the 21st century, where both men and women need to be financially independent. Our nation will thrive economically if all the women become financially independent.
My friend Jimm Chick recently said, “the measure of success of any woman is the value she adds to the society”. This is indeed true for every human being.
My greatest challenge is to support my daughter to become a financially independent woman who would make a valuable contribution to her society. She should not be valued by the man she marries or the things she gets from a man. My sons should not make the same mistakes I made re women’s rights.
Happy women’s month to all the great women in my life. Keep the fight alive!