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VOF Week 4: (Swimming against the tide)

I grew up in a patriarchal society where women subject themselves to men. I still remember quite vividly the role my mother and sister played at home and at church. It was all normal, according to the political system, cultural beliefs and media perspectives. It is only now that I realise that man put structures that perpetuate male dominance in the community.
At church women are made to do menial tasks such as cleaning. Other roles include singing and dancing while men do the preaching and decision making. At political rallies women make numbers while men take up positions that shape our lives. In the media, women are portrayed negatively - in most cases as sex objects. At home their role is to bear children and clean the homes while men are out there making decisions that affect the lives of everyone in the community and the country.
Our local media has reinforced these stereotypes to the extent that children are moulded to conform to the dictates of men. After all, the media is dominated by men. Even the women’s columns in the newspapers are edited by men and some programmes on the local television and radios are produced and directed by men. The scenario has greatly disempowered women. It is long overdue that women, particularly in Zimbabwe should start to think about swimming against the tide if they have to achieve total emancipation.
Early into my childhood I observed how women struggled to raise their voices and how their voices were misrepresented, underrepresented and suppressed. That experience has given me the strength to stand up and challenge male dominance. After all, the roles are not cast in iron. Even the Bible has stories of women who played some courageous roles that even men could not carry out. There are also folk stories about brave women who played key roles in their communities.
The first step to challenge male dominance is to build the capacities and abilities of women in the strategic and creative use of communication to express their needs, to make their voices heard, to manage their own communication, and to participate fully in their own development through manipulating communication approaches and tools to change public values and beliefs that are essential for long-term social change.
Globally, women need to be united and speak with one voice against the violation of women’s rights. Women’s rights are human rights and we can not afford to waste time waiting for men to realise that and advocate for the change. It is up to us to stand up and mobilise globally and fight for our true position in the family, the community and internationally. No cheap gender policies of affirmative action crafted by men can uplift us.
World Pulse can help me achieve my vision because it is a platform for women by women. We can share our different experiences globally and freely express ourselves without the gatekeeping process.
World Pulse is the historical Greek agora where women share strategies for their emancipation. Being a correspondent will improve my Internet communication skills, writing skills, decision making and networking capacity. Currently it is very difficult to express myself in the local media because of the unhealthy media environment. The public media does not reflect the views of the public but those of the ruling class. Through World Pulse I will be able to narrate the unheard stories of women in Zimbabwe. I will also interact with women from diverse backgrounds. This is very important for me because it will build my self confidence and leadership skills. I do not want to reinvent the wheel as far as this fight is concerned but would want to build on other women’s experiences so as to reach my objectives.
By becoming a correspondent for World Pulse, I aim to be the rallying point in the fight against oppressive forces and build local networks of dedicated women who can spearhead advocacy programmes for laws that truly reflect women’s aspirations.

Comments

jadefrank's picture

Women's rights are human rights

Hi Gertrude,

I enjoy your writing and it has been a joy to follow your assignments through VOF. You are such a powerful voice for the women of Zimbabwe and women of the world. I especially like this part of your journal, "Women’s rights are human rights and we can not afford to waste time waiting for men to realise that and advocate for the change. It is up to us to stand up and mobilise globally and fight for our true position in the family, the community and internationally. No cheap gender policies of affirmative action crafted by men can uplift us." This is so true and I couldn't have said it better myself.

Warm regards,
Jade

cad_communication's picture

Thank you

Hi Jade
Many apologies for not replying. I had no access to the computer for more than two weeks. Thank you for the king words which continue to encourage me in fighting for women's rights. I hope to continue to raise the voises women in magnitude and to empower other women to take a lead role in advancing women rights.

Warm regards,
Gertrude

meg.peterson's picture

Hi Gertrude, What a powerful

Hi Gertrude,

What a powerful reflection on gender roles. It is so easy for all people to continue with normative ways and not acknowledge or question systems or traditions that are oppressive. I believe you would be an exceptional correspondent for World Pulse and are a great resource to your community. Your confidence and dedication to improving womens' rights comes through clearly in your writing. I hope things begin to change and you can express yourself in local media, you have a wise and positive vision for the future.

Cheers,
Megan

Hi Megan
Thank you and many apologies for replying so late. I had no access to the internet for the past two weeks. Your kind words continue to encourage me. Joining World Pulse has helped me shape my vision and expand my borders. I have realised the power of communication and how it can change the lives of many women and help women so that they can enjoy their rights and other fundamental freedoms.
I hope my contribution to the online community will inspire other women to think in other terms and change their lives and the lives of their communities and families. I am currrently working with a group of marginalised and vulnerable women and children. I have been using theatre as a medium to address local challenges and i have been using Creative Memory Books to encourage open communication. I intent to embark on a project aimed at producing a newsletter written in the local language and distributed for free for women and children to have access to information as well as to set up a cyber cafe to also introduce women and children to the internet. Joining World Pulse will surely assist me in terms of capacity building in the use of internet technologies. I believe that many women in Zimbabwe will benefit from what i have been learning on Pulse Wire because it is by sharing what we learn that we can bring meaningful change to the lives of women in the world.

Warm regards
Gertrude

ENIE NDOH CECILE's picture

Congrats

My dear friend i wish to Congratulate your selection as one of the Correspondents for VOF.
All the best and love

cad_communication's picture

Thank you

Hi Enie Ndoh Cecile
Thank you very much.
The past month has been an adventure for me. I have learned many new things and i have made friends. I feel greatly honored to be selected as one of the Correspondents. I am humbled by the Pulse Wire team for their dedication to promoting the vision of Pulse Wire and in turn raising the voices of women.
Indeed, the past month has been an exciting journey for me and to be selected to be a correspondent is like getting onto another bus to reach my destination. I can't wait to continue the journey which i believe will be full of other exciting and new things.
Let the adventure begin and congradulations to the other correspondents.

Cheers,
Gertrude Pswarayi

ENIE NDOH CECILE's picture

You Should Be..

Hi,
When one is a winner the one should always feel greatly honoured.
Your dreams have come true and i'm confident you are up to the task.
Goodluck and all the best.

Sincerely,
Cecile

JaniceW's picture

Congratulations

Your perspective and insight has always been a joy to read and I am happy that you have the opportunity to continue with phase two of VOF. I believe that your voice will be heard far and wide, and that your narratives will help bring hope to the women in Zimbabwe and empower others to rise up against oppression to better their lives. Best wishes with phase two of VOF.

cad_communication's picture

Thank you

Hi JaniceW
Thank you very much. I am humbled to be one of the correspondents. I look forward using this platform to raise the voices of women in my country as well as other women in similar situations.

Cheers,

Gertrude Pswarayi

Katie McDonald's picture

Congratulations

Congratualations on becoming a Voices of the Future Correspondent.

Best wishes.

Katie

Dear Katie
Thank you very much. I am greatful, humbled and honoured to be one of the correspondents for the VOF.

Warm regards,

Gertrude Pswarayi

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