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Men and boys as allies in achieving women's rights: Count me in as an ally!

Otto Tendayi Mponda

My heart pounded in excitement.
As the guys quizzed me in the gym,
curious to know why l was suddenly looking happier and appearing more content than ever in my life.
“Have you finally met someone special?” One asked in a very suspicious manner.
“Who is she?, is she anyone we know?”,
flew more questions before I could even address the first ones.
“Yes, there is someone new in my life,
but unfortunately you wouldn't know her!” I answered with a cheeky grin on my face
to the surprise of many who were in the largely male packed gym.

“Tell us, tell us now!”
they curiously roared, as if I was delaying to reveal the name of the winner of a much awaited zillion dollar lottery grand prize.
“Its bacause of WorldPulse” I replied in a very excited tone.
“Winnett who?” asked another.
"WorldPulse not Winnett" I replied with a giggle..
“Well, WorldPulse is an online platform that allows individuals, in particular women, to advocate for the empowerment of the girl child”, I replied.
“It allows grassroots women leaders to address pertinent issues that affect women in general and gives women the chance to voice their opinions online,
share inspiring stories and learn from each other's own experiences”.

Indeed dear reader, you should have seen their faces as l revealed my interest in being the Voice of the Future for WorldPulse.
Every man at that very moment was inspired by how I could involve myself with such a women oriented organisation, being male myself.
Well, the reason here is simple and will remain simple for many years to come
as I truly believe that in order for us to be able to curb such problems as domestic violence against women, we also need to involve the male folk in the advocacy.
We need to stand together, both men and women, to protect our rights to peace and gender equity.
And have more men speaking up to one another, in as much as women would speak up to one another, against issues like rape, violence towards women, unforced marriages, female genital mutilation and the bad idea of viewing women as sexual objects.

What greatly inspires and drives me to be the Voice of the Future for WorldPulse is the current increase in cases of rape and violence towards women around the world in particular some Asian countries where women's rights are religiously sidelined. A recent case following a series of others being that of Ludhiana in India where a woman was publicly bashed by four men with iron rods as spectators looked on simply because she had demanded her money back from one of the men she had lent. The link to the video is as follows though viewers discretion is advised: http://www.niticentral.com/2013/04/17/ludhiana-four-men-beat-up-woman-in...
It is such kind of social injustices towards women, and other instances where the police actually beat up women who come to report cases of domestic violence, that I have taken a stand and decided to be the Voice of Peace and Gender Equality to all men who still abuse women. I urge all men to be wise enough to know that it is against humanity to rape and beat up women. Men, lets us be allies in the fight towards women rights than being enemies of progress.

It really takes a brave man to speak on women's rights and it is within my personal vision for the future to see more men making their voices heard in their support of women rights
and actively creating a united front against all forms of violence towards women thereby creating a safer environment for our children and generations to come.

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Comments

Aminah's picture

It indeed takes a brave man

In indeed takes a brave man to speak for us women.
I very strongly believe that we need men to be sensitized to gender issues if we want to bring about a meaningful change. Unless men understand and acknowledges our agonies and insecurities and our strengths it will be like working against a huge force.
But if we can get men involved the journey will be so much smoother.

I have met a few men who are gems when it comes to gender equality debate. Unfortunately the percentage is like 1 out of 100 :)

Thank you for being you.

Regards,
Aminah

Salaam
Aminah

Tash's picture

we do need more men like you!

we do need more men like you! its a bonus! Thank you!

Kind Regards,
Patsy.

Sangita Thapa's picture

wow!

Impressive! totally awesome! Thank you so much for being brave and speaking out. I hope more men would join WP, share their ideas and yet more would act for the change. Respect to your voice!

radiocami's picture

YEY!!

We need more men such as yourself becoming in-touch with the divine feminine side that lies dormant within them. In this way and with you sharing your story, other men will be inspired to do the same, helping us, the whole of society, and in the process learning about themselves. It feels like Africa is going to go through a revolution of love sooner than we think!
Welcome to our circle and all the best in the application process!

camila

valerie camila rhodes

olutosin's picture

This is really handsome!

Whaoh, you kept me in suspense too.

Bravo!!!

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

bhavna's picture

Yes, the reason is very simple :)

Kudos to you for being the voice we so very desire to find.
First step to solving any issues is accepting it exits and is not just a hype in the name of feminism as many folks would like to think.
Thank you so much, we need more sane voices like you, there are many but it needs to be multiplied!
Best wishes :)

Lea's picture

Wonderful!

This is beautifully written and so inspiring! Thank you Otto for showing that there are men who are realy advocates of women's rights and who believe in gender equality.
I really enjoyed the dialog at the beginning of your essay which then lead into your sharing your views about how men and women can work together in order to create a dialog and develop understanding of each other.
You also evoked an important piece of the solution: encouraging more men to become advocates and to educate each other about women's rights, become role models, and raise awareness in their communities about violence against women.
Even though we have a long way to go before women and men become truly equal, it goes me hope when I read about men like you who want to make a difference and who are very brave to speak out and to show support for women and girls.
To you, I say thank you and keep up the good work!

Greengirl's picture

Thumbs up!

You are so, so different, inspirational and a pace setter. You rolled it all up in your piece and I appreciate your commitment to helping other men to stop seeing women as objects or tools; but rather to relate with and treat females with dignity. I can imagine what the world would be like if every man shared your wisdom and understanding. I enjoyed reading the post and feel I should read it over and over again. May be too, share it other men. Thank you for inspiring me!

Greengirl.

surfgirl-CA's picture

You are a stealth agent!

Hi, Otto -- I am SO happy to hear more men here. Becz when you speak to your fellow gym buddies & other men/boys, they will listen to you in a different way than to most women. It's just true. You are a stealth agent! A secret weapon. LOL.

surfgirl-CA --
When we come from the willingness to love, not fear, we will see the best and highest materialize in our world.
Quand nous venons à partir de la volonté à l'amour, pas la peur, nous allons voir le meilleur et le plus élevé se matérialise

Maya Norton's picture

Your "Woman"

Hillary, what a wonderfully comic and enticing read. Congratulations on the new "woman" in your life. I'm glad that she has made you feel so happy and content.

I'm really enjoying your contributions - thank you for your voice and the work you are doing on behalf of women everywhere.

Warm regards,

~ Maya

MaDube's picture

I'm impressed and wanna know

I'm impressed and wanna know more about what you are doing to change Zimbabwean men's attitudes towards sexual violence. Currently doing work on societal perceptions of rape and another on me's experiences with sexual violence. Email me please rdube@rau.co.zw

oluwayomi osuntokun's picture

hello !

You are my HERO ! You just made my day . Now with men as allies gender equality will soon be the in -thing ! God bless you .Wish you success as you spread this good news to other men .

hillary24's picture

we are all allies

Thank you for all your thoughtful comments l'm surely learning a lot from you all.

Wendyiscalm's picture

Great beginnning

You are a courageous wonderful role model and great soul to do this. Please keep it up. You have power. I agree with you that in order for women to have equal rights,etc. we MUST somehow get through to men. You would know how to do this better than I. You seem to have such a charisma with men, did you ever consider (or would you), doing a men's group weekly or something like that for the purposes of each helping other men as you have helped them think differently? And in this way build an underground and spread the ideas you believe in regarding men and women.

You sure know how to get their attention.

Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Thank you Wendy that is true. More and more grassroots initiatives are being put in place to reach out to a wider audience of Zimbabwean men through various initiatives aimed at making men aware of why practices like domestic violence towards women need to end..and many of these have proved to be effective. Such initiatives include road shows and street theatrical productions from popular groups such as Magariro Street Theatre among others. Since the majority of Zimbabwean men spend their time hustling in the streets...what better way than to use street theatre as our mouthpiece, which has proved to be more appealing to most men though having men groups still remains an essential medium that needs to be explored in depth. We will continue to push forward and educate more men who are still in the dark.. will try to up load some links here revealing how neighbourhood street theatre, with themes as domestic violence, child abuse, women's rights etc, has mushroomed in Zimbabwe over the years,

Wendyiscalm's picture

Great idea

Hi,

The street theatre, etc. is a great idea and I had no idea such things were going on. An amazing new twist. It sounds like you are really connecting with men in a way they can comprehend and accept and I believe that will make a huge difference. Such an innovative idea. Look forward to the links.

Ubuntu,

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

surfgirl-CA's picture

great to see video

thx for the link, Hillary - love being able to see video of an event/project. Wld also like to see the audience reactions. Great to feel like I can be there watching the play. Best, T.

surfgirl-CA --
When we come from the willingness to love, not fear, we will see the best and highest materialize in our world.
Quand nous venons à partir de la volonté à l'amour, pas la peur, nous allons voir le meilleur et le plus élevé se matérialise

Wendyiscalm's picture

Thanks Hillary 24

Hi,

Good luck with the men's group. It seems a nonthreatening way to begin an underbelly of understanding among men who can spread the word without making a big fuss at this time on the outside. Sort of like Gandhi,. Actually, Hillary Clinton has developed an underbelly of women in places like Afghanistan, etc. to keep the women's movement growing powerful after the US completely leaves.

Yes, I look forward to hearing how Zim is taking up this issue with the men. And good luck with the men's group. I think that sounds energizing, fun and helpful.

Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

TJ's picture

welcome to the sisterhood...

I agree - it doesn't take women alone - it takes men and I'm happy to see a male in the midst!!!

TJ

surfgirl-CA's picture

it takes two (genders!)

Hear, hear!

surfgirl-CA --
When we come from the willingness to love, not fear, we will see the best and highest materialize in our world.
Quand nous venons à partir de la volonté à l'amour, pas la peur, nous allons voir le meilleur et le plus élevé se matérialise

Activechica's picture

YES!!

As World Pulse tour manager for the last 2 years, it has been good to see an increasing number of men like you step forward and offer their time, skills and support to the World Pulse community and grassroots women leaders. I applaud your vision to broaden that support and make the world to a more peaceful, equitable place for all. Welcome!!

Activechica's picture

What was your 'aha' moment(s)?

Hello again,

I may have missed this in your writings, yet am curious what are the circumstances that have led to your awakening and to be passionate about gender equality?

Thank you.
Leslie

innerdelight's picture

Captivating

Hi Otto,
What a great story! I was drawn in and curious from your first sentence and love the way you brought this all together. Yes... "It really takes a brave man to speak on women's rights and it is within my personal vision for the future to see more men making their voices heard in their support of women rights
and actively creating a united front against all forms of violence towards women thereby creating a safer environment for our children and generations to come."

As Leslie asked in her comment, I would also be curious how your personal vision has been inspired and what drives you to be a Voice for gender equality?
I totally love your style and can see how you will be, and already are, a great inspiration and change agent amongst the men and thereby the women. Way to go!

I look forward to reading more!

joyful blessings,
Tina

hillary24's picture

The source of my motivation ...

Thank you all for your recent comments. Well, to be honest what really inspires and drives me to be a Voice for gender equality as well as an advocate against all forms of abuse towards women is the current increase in cases of rape and violence towards women around the world in particular some Asian countries where women's rights are religiously sidelined. A recent case being that of Ludhiana in India where a woman was publicly bashed by four men with iron rods as spectators looked on simply because she had demanded her money back from one of the men she had lent. The link to the video is as follows though viewers discretion is advised http://www.niticentral.com/2013/04/17/ludhiana-four-men-beat-up-woman-in...
It is these kind of social injustices towards women where the police actually beat up women who come to report cases of domestic violence that I have taken a stand and decided to be the Voice of Peace and Gender equality to all men who still abuse women. I urge all men to be wise enough to know that it is against humanity to rape and beat up women. Men, lets us be allies in the fight towards women rights than being enemies of progress..

binapatel33's picture

Great job!

Thank you for sharing your vision with us. It is extremely refreshing to see a "voice" that praises women's rights and gender equality. Your thoughts are extremely refreshing, welcoming, and most importantly encouraging. As a woman, I cannot thank you enough for your thoughts. The next step will be for you to gather together your male friends to help women become self empowered and fight for equal rights.

Kind Regards,
Bina Patel
hc Mediate, LLC
www.hcmediate.com

Frances Faulkner's picture

Bravo

Hillary 24,

Bravo for your voice. I have now read posts by two men in one night and it makes me happy, the idea of gender falling away and all of us working together as individuals to make the world better. Who are the women and men in your own life who inspire you? Why are you comfortable and passionate on this path that differs from many of your colleagues? Tell us your stories.

Thank you for doing what you do. I greatly enjoyed your piece and take solace in your words.

Frances

Nicole.Staudinger's picture

Thank you

Very, very well put. I am going to share your post with the men in my life in order to encourage them to catch on to your enthusiasm and integrity. You give me hope.

Wendyiscalm's picture

Umbrella

Hi Hillary24,

I think of you as an umbrella. The covering is your cause. The spokes are the various ways you achieve your cause. lIke

1. street dancing

2. Men's group

3.

4.

Etc.

I know a guy in Livingstone Zambia that has a Mens Empowerment group. It seems this might be one. good, nonthreatening way to get men to change other men's minds. Each month or week each man could bring another man as a guest. And on and on. In that way perhaps the change could spread. I will be happy to give you his email if you would like to contact him.

Ubuntu(I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

hillary24's picture

Brilliant idea

@everyone, thank you so much all for your support, lm very inspired by it@ Wendy I like your idea Wendy, l will send you an invite here on WorldPulse so you could inbox me his email, lm sure he would really inspire and guide me with advice regarding setting up more empowerment groups for men...

Wendyiscalm's picture

You will inspire each other

Hi Hillary24.

I beleive you will inspire each other. Will await the invite.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

Wendyiscalm's picture

Mens Empowerment Group

Hi Zim Man,

How are you doing Otto?

I checked with Michael in Zambia and he got all your info so let's HOPE he gets in touch with you.

Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you and the wonderful heart you have and work you do.

Ubuntu (I am who I am because of who we are together),

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

hillary24's picture

Cant wait to hear from..

Hello Wendy and thank you for your message. I'm glad to hear from you and am also delighted with the help and support you have been giving me especially with regards to facilitating contacts with Michael regarding advice on Men's Empowerment Group..

Ubuntu
Zim man, Otto

Wendyiscalm's picture

Hi

Keep me posted, Zim man.

Ubuntu,

Wendy

Wendy Stebbins
Founder/CEO
I AM ONE IN A MILLION Non-Profit Organization focused on helping street orphans and vulnerable children in Livingstone, Zambia Africa.

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