when the straight line becomes a circle
‘Radio show awards AK 47 guns and grenades as prizes to children at a quiz contest in Somalia,’ reported BBC Radio at 21:00hrs East African time on the 20th of September 2011. Given that this country is suffering from drought, war, and the gun is obviously highly valued, the question arises, why children? Besides, where are the mothers, sisters, aunts and grandmothers voices in an environment where men run the show? In another instance, Eunice suffered the shame of working at a funeral home. Nevertheless, the job ‘designed’ for men paid her bills as the life giver made a living out of people’s death. Seeing this woman hanging around morgues helping grieving relatives identify their victim’s dead bodies at an exorbitant fee, portrayed an unprecedented display of corporate conscience. Like a nest of cockroaches trying to survive, these two kinds of women face the challenge of society finding it hard to tolerate their views hence survive the hard way. My challenge in creating change in the community lies in stereotypical tendencies based on cultural norms and the ideology that women are their own worst enemies. With all due respect, I believe that women deserve the best professions under conducive working conditions however by bringing out these two examples, I look at a silenced woman who cannot boldly speak in the presence of men and a professional woman whose job is esteemed to belong to men, others comparing it to feeding a dog’s tail expecting it to fatten.
Information is power so goes the old saying. The solution to rigid cultural norms, is buried in education. It is important to educate both men and women on how to respect each other. In the case of Female Genital Mutilation, the campaign worked as a result of community based practical education. Women should get economically dependent by taking on well paying jobs or opening up businesses that can meet their needs. Political Involvement is also important as they say, everything rises and falls on leadership and this can arise from women voting for women indiscriminately.
Currently, online communities are just cropping up in my continent. Urban centers have an advantage over rural areas and the main problem lies in the rural setting where literacy level is so poor and the aspect of translating some websites into languages understood by the locals is somehow problematic.. Affording broadband in a village which has unstable power supply is also one thing to consider. Anyway, I think there is still a long optimistic journey to go when it comes to using the digital age where it is mostly needed. On a personal note, I have used it to interact with both men women who share the same values as I do blogging and in due course will translate some websites for people in rural settings so that they may be encouraged to read and understand most views that favour women at the end of the day, he who opens a school, closes a prison.