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Solving the Problems through Transforming the Attitudes

impacting the women with serviceable knowledge is wealth. With such skills, women can fight against all forms of discrimination. And that is what I have been doing for years

Being an ardent member in the civil society and also as a young scholar on gender, violence and youth development, I am often confronted with lots of difficulties in my professional and my personal life. One of which and most critical arises from the conflict of ideologies on masculinity and feminism.

This misconception of maleness as authority and must be in charge of controlling the economy, making socio-political or family decisions, and, feminism as anti-men is tremendously affecting / limiting my potency to bring positive change in the community. The divergent in ideology between men and women in my community is such a big issue and definitely needs constant awareness raising in order to completely eradicate the ignorant behaviors that demean the values of feminism to ‘bad’ or ‘indecent’.

Through group campaigns, community mobilization, workshop trainings, and policy brief (papers), I have been opportune to articulate and share, locally and globally, the stories of the community women orally and in written, challenging the status quo of womanhood and manhood. On the other hand, the presence of scarce resources like learning (resourceful) toolkits, reliable internet connections and the possibility to find the experts who are ready to engage and impact these women with abundant wealth of serviceable knowledge has also reduces my success towards ensuring that women voices are heard.

Overcoming the barriers has not been easy. It is for that reason; I have been very influential in promoting the use of Blogging / New (Social) Media for community good. For instance, recently I created an event page on Facebook and Twitter List for the October 9th presidential Elections, where citizens (women mostly) are encouraged to use this common platform to share their personal stories /experiences throughout the election period, with the world.

This act is so far the first social media initiative that is bringing live streaming on the Cameroon presidential elections, unlike in the past elections where news were obtained from the traditional news media. In this case therefore, Cameroonians shall freely access original stories told by those going through the experience without censorship, editing or adding of a voiceover as commonly done with the TVs, Radios reports.
Personally, I feel so excited about the Live blogging of Cameroon elections because it will not only enhance citizen vigilance and political accountability but also influence many people (women and girls in particular) to turn their empathy into actions for change.

Another very important portal, apart from my blog and other sites, is Pulsewire. I am proud to say, I am a Pulsewireholic. I have contributed both in welcoming and directing newcomers, shared stories on the recent development and experiences on topical issues. I have also participated in (and have led) some of Pulsewire’s Strategic Campaigns and Action (community) Calls. My engagement to Pulsewire has introduced me to remarkable women committed in building change. And above all PulseWire is continually exposing me to valuable resources that have been of immense benefits to my activism and my academics.

Comments

Stella Paul's picture

Congrats!

Congrats on being a trend setter.
Congrats also on creating yet another opportunity for common people, especially women to speak out and connect directly with the global community.
Congrats on creating a possibility for others to get the news of the election, something that doesn't come by easily.

Be the torch bearer,always!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

zoneziwoh's picture

my goodness!!!

Dear Stella, you are amazing. I felt like reading a poetic lyric, very musical comment. Thank you so much. I am always very joyful reading your comment/feedback. Thank you so much.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Seems you come up with even more brilliant ideas when you have a headache :-) Ummm, your idea of live streaming elections is awesome. I think it could help us in Zimbabwe as well in the elections in 2012 especially in exposing incidences of violence before, during and after elections as well as taking note of irregularities which the official monitors and observers may not detect but which the communities living in these areas will be aware of. Thank you for this idea

zoneziwoh's picture

I cant be complete without my sisters.

dear sister, many thanks. Can you imagine yesterday evening I even thought I could manage to read, but the moment i picked up anything to read, my head feel so heavy as though my head was an attachment to my neck. I tell you, it made me feel so uncomfortable.
Yeah, I think that should be implemented in Zm, in fact, this will be a nice start to introduce many people into using web 2.0 in reporting and doing good. The event page created for this particular election is pulling lots of attention and many people can’t wait to see the outcome. And I bet you, it is going to be magnificent, just the curiosity demonstrated by the people signifies a lot.

please dear, in case you begin the campaign, invite me to the page. I will be glad to follow-up the story.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

MaDube's picture

I definitely will

Really I think it is a brilliant idea and I do not know why we never thought of it before. I will discuss this idea with some techie friends and colleagues of mine as soon as I get back home and we will see if we cant have a combination of sms reports and live-streaming to report violence. I do not hope for electoral violence but if it does happen I think it would be great to be prepared for it so that it does not reach the proportions we experienced in 2008.

zoneziwoh's picture

Excellent

I concur a 100%. It is nice to get prepare. even if, the elections occur with limited casualties and irregularities, just the fact that the people are engage (whether directly or indirectly) demonstrates some sense of belonging and involvement. Through that citizens become more aware of the importance of elections in their life as well as to the state. I strongly support you and friends embarked on something like this. As you can see, it is a trial version, and who knows--in future --this will be a tool used worldwide. Just like how the Uganda post-election riots took a different turn by not protesting but 'walk to work' and now the Malawi protest has modified its strategy by 'sit at home and not go to work'. so you can see all the new measures in protesting. It is very true that our African leaders are caught unprepared with the advent of ICT and digital (web 2.0)) media. and for that reason, we should missed any opportunity passed by.

you can view the event page on FB at https://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=238012929579567

while on twitter, to follow up live with the streaming - you search the list : #blog_kmer_elections. It is also adviceable to add those hastag blog_kmer_elections in all the tweets relating to the elections.

I am impress at people's reaction. And that i am sure, it is going to be great.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Adepeju's picture

Well done!

I remember something similar to this was adopted during the 2011 elections in Nigeria. People became well informed of everything, everywhere. Nice concept.

zoneziwoh's picture

beautiful.

wao! that makes things easier therefore. I wish you got engage with the events. Please dear, if there is any new strategy you can recommend, i will be extremely thankful. I can’t wait to read all the stories of the people. So far, it has been great. Few persons have been dropping notes. While, others are amused at the concept and can’t wait to see the outcome.
Once we succeed with this, subsequent elections will definitely involve more cautions. And just like our dear sister MaDube had said, citizens need to protect their votes as well as exposes any irregularites that may have occur during this period.

once more, many thanks
I look forward to hearing from you .

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Juliette Maughan's picture

Woman vs Man

Hey,

I wanted to know your thoughts on how to get men to pay attention to issues affecting women. There is much said by men that women have "too many rights". One young man I spoke to on the issue of democracy said that he does not vote. He said he refuses to vote until it is one vote per household. I said well what about your wife and children? He replied that he would be the head of the household and what he says goes. He opined that women have too many rights and that was what was affecting the society negatively.

I spoke to another young woman, an active participant in the youth arm of a political party who said that she felt that despite the fact that she is involved because of interest in making change she felt that women's participation in politics could not be seen as natural to the essence of a woman.

I am interested in knowing your thoughts on 1) how do we rebrand the discussions on gender to allow men to see that it is not woman over man but that there are still issues which affect women. 2) what are the women saying about their involvement in politics, particularly elections. Is it that they are the voters that support candidates or are they aspiring to get involved? Of the women who are currently in the world of politics, how are they involved and what personalities do they adopt? How do they balance family life and professional life?

I love your article it evokes so many questions...

zoneziwoh's picture

Dear Juliette, i must admit

Dear Juliette, i must admit you have raised very powerful questions. I won’t claim to have the best answers to your concern but nonetheless, i am going to try to share my view on what i think. It is indeed true that the issue of women and men is controversial. I will like you to understand that this is not an issue (conflict) that became today; it has been in existence for decades, even before the birth of feminism and feminist theories.
In an effort to rebrand the gender issues is by involving men as well as women in the debate, at all levels. As much as women would definitely have their space purposely for women, but when it concerns matter of national concern, both genders are supposed to be present. Moreover, i will like you to understand that patriarchy is always on the move, reinventing itself to suit the present moment, and for this particular situation ruling males (patriarch) feel threatened with the fast growing of feminism influence. In order to revert this feminist influence, ruling men has created scenario which has intoxicated the minds of the society by referring to feminine activism as a fight against men. While, you and me are quite aware that is not true. It is never going to be a fight against men.

The next point on what are women saying about getting involve. Which is another interesting remark you raise? This evening, i am just from having an informal discussion with some women and in our discussion the issue of women political involvement came up. And most of them were of the opinion that women feel reluctant while i was on the opinion that women are scared. And somehow they defended their view quite well. They said, women are reluctant because of family and other domestic responsibilities, despite the fact that they have got the will but those chores hinders their involvement in politics. Secondly they added that some women do not want to be branded as 'feminist' because it gives a negative image and personality.

Again, the issue of women balancing political and family life is a distraction set by the ruling men. If the men can balance family and political life while can’t the women? To me, i think that the issue about most men is just greed and not necessarily objective. for example, though this may be an outside of the questions you posed, permit me use this example to elucidate my point on men greed - eg, in most African countries, Cameroon in particular is so aggressive when it comes to homosexuals, why? This is simply because heterosexual men who are in power feel challenged and threatened about manhood.

once more, i will like you to clarify me on this point .." she felt that women's participation in politics could not be seen as natural to the essence of a woman. .." I am afriad I didnt understand this phrase. I will be glad if you eloborate further.

Thank you for your response. I love your remark. It is quite thoughtful. we can always keep on with the conservation. Take Care

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Juliette Maughan's picture

Explanation

Hey,

With regards to my comment, it is quite confusing to me as well and admittedly I did not delve any deeper. What I understood is that she was arguing that it is not 'natural', I perceive it as saying that it is not in our female DNA or biological make up to be involved in politics in a leadership capacity.

Arguably I did not get to the bottom of it but I found the statement she made to be quite profound.

Thanks for your reply... loads to think about.

Juliette

zoneziwoh's picture

goodness Lord!!!

Juliette Dear, expressions like that I always love using Mama quote on state feminism to best express myself, where she said " State Feminism - These are groups of older women, less educated middle class African women willing to propagate highly conservative ideas, never failing to remind women of their primary goal as wives and mothers (Mama 1997:418). How on earth can somebody, a woman for that matter says, politics is biologically (naturally) not women. Well, it doesn’t surprises me - I am used to people like that and all i can say is that they are feminine patriarchs.

I remembered having such an irritating conversation with some friends on FB. This was during the August 15th Assumption day. you know Catholics celebrate the rising of Mary, Jesus' Mother - so on this particular, a colleague wrote this as her wall status;

Ngendoh Rita: -
" Happy Assumption to u all .Its just another day for all the women out here to be glad and give glory to God.Primarily because a woman was chosen as the new ark of the covenant ,and secondarily because he made u and gave u the privileged of been a woman .ENJOY THE THORNS ,STUMPS AND ABOVE ALL THE ROSES OF WOMANHOOD--- LETS NEVER TRY OR STRUGGLE TO BE MEN BECAUSE MARY NEVER DID"

and this was my reaction to her post:
"Thk u very much dear sister for the wonderful words. Unfortunately u spoil all the good words with the single word 'struggle'. I am afriad u are missing the debate. Women are not struggling to be a man. Women want equality. Equal respects, opportunity irrespective of sex. Kindly re-think over the debate of women's rights".

Here , below is her remark to my comment - I felt so annoyed with my friend's response -

Ngendoh Rita : -
" I am afraid u said u want equal rights ,who made you less equal to a man in the first place ,that u want to be equal to him?Besides in the so call "want of equality" must women have lost their values of womanhood and are actually struggling to become men.

so dear Juliette, I can imagine such irritating conversation, especially with state (patriarch) feminist

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Juliette Maughan's picture

Sigh

Yes it is actually this type of debate that becomes frustrating.

Of course I partially understand the difficulty in ironing out the way we share responsibilities now that women are working and the economy necessitates this. However, there are non-negotiables -

the reaction to gender-based violence
equal pay for equal work
recognition for the contribution of women who do opt to stay home and take care of the family
equal access to education

and the list goes on...

Unfortunately too many people perceive women's rights as being anti-men's rights when for me it is about having options and being paid respect. We still have a way to go, even in countries like mine.

However, I do see the emerging importance with equalling out the discourse to include one that says... "The emergence of women to a place of equality... where does that leave men?" Hahahahaha

The inclusion of men and the worth of men from my recollection is particularly prominent in the Black Feminist movement (correct me if I am wrong). We may be feminist in thought but that does not mean that we do not want a strong man to partner with us along life's journey.

The negotiations continue my sister...

zoneziwoh's picture

Exactly

The emergence of women to a place of equality is quite interesting but with these feared and greedy men, who will always think that to ensure equality means to lost authority and exercise of power.

Again, I agree that both men and women, alongside one another should be readily available throughout the life's journey. it is ok by me, because i won’t need a lazy husband per se and so too i wont love to be lazy wife or burden wife per se.

This is a very interesting conversation we are having. I love it. I have gathered great knowledge from our conversations. wao! great!!

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Carlotta's picture

You are doing a great job and

You are doing a great job and I am impressed by your initiative for the elections. I know how the media tends to misrepresent facts sometimes so getting info first hand from women is a good thing. A lot of women think that women do not understand politics at all and you are proving them wrong. It would be a good thing to if we could do away with the notion that feminist means being anti-men.

zoneziwoh's picture

Absolutely True

you are very correct dear sister. Today, I was having a conversation with a colleague still around this issue and since it is new , it sounded more like a fairy tale to them. Therefore means the effective used of web 2.0 is still an aspect which needs massive sensitization. and also, its users’ needs to understand that it is capable to connect like-minds together for a positive change.

however, i am strongly convince that with this new experiment, Cameroonians will begin to see things different and for sure in subsequent elections, this method will become a model for many. I am also impressed at the comments and reactions from many people.

Thank you, we keep in touch

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

usha kc's picture

Dear Ziwoh,, you are like a

Dear Ziwoh,, you are like a shining star!! I really appriciate your work and your enthusiasm.
I like your word Pulsewireholic very much :):)

Keep shinning always

zoneziwoh's picture

many thanks dear sister

hello dear Usha, many thanks for the nice wirds. I love reading from you always. How are you? I trust yiu are doing great. How is the current situation of the earthquake?
take care

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

usha kc's picture

Thank u sis for concerning

Thank u sis for concerning about earthquake,, I think its over ,, but don know when and where it comes!! wish nobody of nowhere have this scary experience!

zoneziwoh's picture

I pray too

I am gald to know you are doing fine and the family. I wish you all the best. Tk care

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

loyce's picture

Big -Ups My sister

Keep up the good work and I like the discussion going on, feminism,State Feminism and manhood and womanhood.
I have also encountered the state feminists and they are not only old women, even young women ha believe the same way and you wonder

Recently, I had gone to buy some stuff and I tried to bargain for a price discount and the woman told me that we know your husband has given you enough money so give us that money. I got so angry and I asked her that why do you think like that? and who told you that I am married? and why do you think that women can only get the money from men. The she said I am sorry madam, I assured her and I think she will never say that statement to another woman.

Follow me on twitter:@livelyloyce
My blog:www.loycek.wordpress.com

zoneziwoh's picture

Re :Big UPs my sister

I like your remark. This misconception on women's right is a very controversial issue which needs deeper address.

I love it when you say you enjoy the conversation going on Feminism (state / patriarch feminism), manhood and womanhood. It is beautiful to hear you speak i that tone. And True, I am 100% concur Yes to that they are some young women, very educated who also think like the older women state/patriarch feminist.

can you imagine! a woman telling another woman to give the money because the husband had given her. oohs! i tell u i dislike statement like that. same goes when you and a boy goes to a bear parlour and drinks are order and then you ushered the money to the bar attendant and in case you are waiting for a balance, the bar guy would prefer to give the balance to the man (guy) with whom you were drinking and not to you (because you are a women maybe) who gave him/her the money. so you see - that mentality runs unconsciously through people's mind. At first, i will observe reactions like that and ignore but i realize it was not helping me or any person. Now, i tell u my sister - i speak. Thought often it is very fatigue to talk and emphasize on certain which everybody is seeing it normal. There are some bear parlors which the moment i visit, those attending to customer know i wouldn’t tolerate certain misconduct that demean women. at least, i am glad that some know me and thus wont dare to get me off my seat.

i am glad you address the issue there and there and the women realized her mistaken. may be you were the first to point it out to her (and even if u were the second/third.. person to criticize that remark of hers) slowly, she will change, and that is what we want--let the attitude be positively changes.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

KathyG's picture

Wow

Wow, so many thoughtful comments! You are doing great work and I love that you are a Pulsewireholic!

Kathy

zoneziwoh's picture

thank you so much, dear

thank you so much, dear friend. I feel very honor to read your feedback. I look forward to hearing from you again.
thanks

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Ruun Abdi's picture

Amazing!

Great work. You always inspire me Thumbs up sis.

I always admire you and your dedication and commitment in enhance women's issues.

In affection and solidarity,
Marian

zoneziwoh's picture

thank you so much dear

thank you so much dear sister. you words is so touching. I feel more motivated and encouraged to keepp up with my works. thank you so much.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

Katharina's picture

Most impressive!

Dear Zoneziwoh, what can I say?!?! Wow!!! You are most impressive. Your energy and your thoughts are compelling! I think it is a brilliant idea to have original stories of women out there before the election. Maybe you can write a bit more, how that has been going and what kind of feedback you are getting from the women in your community.
Looking very much forward to reading more from you! All the best, Katharina

zoneziwoh's picture

Re: Most Impressive!

I feel so humble. I feel so glad. I am thankful for your inspiring words. They touched my heart, so deeply.
Many thanks for suggestion. I will definitely keep my best to share updates on the current situtaion and even at post-elections. I pray, I always have the strength to keepup. Thanks.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

meena-megha's picture

wow

the conversations that have got going from your article is proof of what you are capable of. keep doing the good work and keep sharing.

zoneziwoh's picture

Re: wow

wow! it is awesome to know that with just 500 word story could turn into a large scale debate. and just like you said --it is proof for change. change is all we dream of.

thank you very much for your comment.

Stay Blessed

Zoneziwoh

Blog: http://zofem.blogspot.com/

facebook: Zoneziwoh

twitter: @ZoFem

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