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.