Women's Rights: The Misconception
Listening to people on the streets of Nairobi is good enough a reason to undertake massive civic education. The worst thing that can ever happen to people is that they be ignorant and yet not know it. A discussion on face book about women's rights in Kenya invited shocking comments such as :
"Women to be same than men? NEVER. I would rather die than see the day."
"Would I be expected to cook and clean now that she will be liberated?"
"There is a reason for women's insubordination......and it’s because men are better leaders and women if left to themselves will screw up everything."
What was evident from the discussion was that first and foremost men were more vocal than women. At least two women (myself included) took part in it. It was clear that the voices of the men carried the day and more so, these men were not for the idea of women's rights.
Asked about what they understand by these so called rights, the responses were more shocking. What men (at least the ones who took part in the discussion) understand of women's rights can be translated to a woman leaving her domestic chores and duties to him, or at least that she will require him to be more active in domestic work. This is not entirely wrong, but to blanket women's rights in such a manner is absolutely wrong.
Women’s rights cover more than just the home. They include a right to education, a right to own property (especially owing to the patriarchal succession regimes in most African countries), a right to reproductive health, a right to enter into and to dissolve a marriage, a right to clean environment, a right to economic empowerment etc. These rights are so diverse!
Women consist more than half of the world's population hence the more the reason for their empowerment. A woman who knows her rights is a better woman and a man who knows and respects women's rights is a worthy gentleman. What women are seeking is EQUALITY IN RIGHTS, NOT ROLES. While we do not expect men to give birth, we expect them to recognize and accord us our due rights, for instance right to equal pay for work of equal value, right to a guaranteed and paid maternity leave etc. Women are the cradle of mankind and they should be celebrated and not victimized because they are women.
Civil education is needed, starting from as low as primary schools and extending all the way upwards. The myth of male versus female domination only serves to hurt women more despite all the hardships they endure and therefore needs to be done away with.