Women's Day Fabric in Cameroon: What IWD 2012 holds for us.
I have been wondering!
Every single Women's Day in Cameroon comes with a Women's Day fabric, known in local parlance as Women's Day wrapper. If you happen to pass around tailors/seamstress' workshops during this period you will understand what I am talking about. This year the fabric is all about two colors, two choices to make; the pink fabric that so many women are dying to have, and the blue fabric that is admired by a few women. LAKING, the famous fabric dealer in Cameroon, is working overtime just to meet with women's demand of the Women's Day fabric. The general cry of this year is that the demand of the pink fabric is more than the supply. Women are frustrated with the situation. A few traders who have the fabric have increased the price by at least 20%.
Do you know what baffles me?
Up till now I don't understand the logic behind the every-year women's day fabric in Cameroon. The production of this fabric has been monopolized. Rights of production has been given to one company. What i cannot tell is whether this is a permanent contract. Most interestingly, women have focused more on acquiring the fabric than achieving equality and empowerment.Women's day has become more like a celebration of the fabric rather than an awareness campaign. If you happen to stand around women who are talking about women's day, then listen carefully, they are obviously talking about the price of the fabric, the design they are going to stitch their fabric, the quality of the fabric, future productions and so on. Some women are even wondering aloud like i am doing, they are worried about the reason behind the every year production of the fabric. Guys, I am perplexed.
Now, the fabric production company has carried the day, it has empowered itself more than the women whom the day is focused on. LOL. Is it that the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and the family is not doing her job well? Is it that the state makes decisions for the Ministry of Women's Empowerment and the Family? Is it that women have not fully understood what this day is all about? Or is it that our nation is concerned about using this day to raise income for the state budget? A thousand questions in my head. The bottom line is that the significance of this day has been misconstrued by both the state and the women themselves.
The theme for this year's Women's day in Cameroon goes thus: "Empower Rural Women: End Hunger and Poverty." I am just so worried about these paper-and-pen themes. Themes that are coined just for the mere fact that there must be a theme. How are we empowering this poor rural woman when we expect her to purchase the fabric every year with her meager income? How do we empower them when we do not fight for their agricultural rights? With all these 'whys' are we going to achieve the objective of theme "End Hunger and Poverty?"
We need help as nations, and as individual.
Lets spread the message before the fabric.