The Web is my loudest voice
My Zambian community is highly controlled by traditional beliefs and culture. These norms have been with us since time in memorial and change is accepted at snail’s pace.
These beliefs have resulted in gender roles that have positioned a woman at the bottom of society’s hierarchy. A woman is expected to do one thing only, please man. A woman’s life is literary planned from birth. When she is young, she is taught all the household chores while her brothers are allowed to do whatever they like.
I remember when I was growing up, I would often complain to my parents that I was doing all the hard work while my two elder brothers had it easy and I would always get the response that “your brothers will get married, they won’t have to do that work.”
When she is done with school, she is expected to get married and have children. If for some reason, she never marries, she is frowned upon as a failure in life, no matter how educated. Marriage is considered as success for a Zambian woman. It is the only way a woman gains a bit of respect even though she is the cheap labor in a home and is expected to keep her opinions and aspirations to herself. Marriage is our society’s way of keeping women in their given place!
At that low level, a woman is hardly able to influence change as she is less likely to be taken seriously.
The Women movement has been one of the best champions in reducing the barriers and challenges faced by the female folk.
With this increasing number of educated women, it is much easier to mobilize and fight for our rights.
Zambian women have made a mark in politics and the economy.
Not only are we the highest voters but also the main players in agriculture, the sector that employs 70 percent of workers and feeds the nation.
As Zambian women, we work hard despite our unheard voice and thankfully we have the Web as our biggest tool to speak and be heard.
On September 20, 2011, my country went through elections. The period before and just after the elections were marked by uncertainty as many people expected violence as has been a case in many African countries.
Knowing very well that women and children suffer more when there is civil strife, I joined hands with eight Zambian female journalists and Kenyan ICT experts to work on www.bantuwatch.org a Zambian version of Uchaguzi, which enabled people to report any incidents of violence or related events. The response to this initiative was very good with pockets of violence that were reported quickly acted upon by the authorities.
Bantu Watch demonstrated to me the power of the Web in mobilizing people to act for a common cause.
I have no doubt that PulseWire will give me such opportunities to work for the good of the woman and society at large.
The web is indeed my loudest voice!