It is bad!

This year, more than any prior, my eyes, heart, and every fibre of my being have been tuned in the overt and covert currents in society, that almost on auto-pilot work against the female species. IT IS BAD!

It is bad because women are generally naturally incredibly strong in terms of resilience, strength of character, endurance and the ability to love hard. However these same strengths are most often exploited, and then twisted and made out to be weaknesses. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t seems to be the double bind forever fate of the female. The system sets you up to fail. If you speak you’re too forceful, angry, loud, too forward, or acting like a man. Be feminine you are told aka quiet, good natured, softly spoken, graceful. If you’re a Christian you’re directed to be submissive.  Then if that’s not enough the Proverbs 31 woman ideal is used to flog you into submission (after being used to make you feel like a failure). Even if, and when you do all that, and are taken advantage of by your male partner, co-worker, family member, you are told to try harder, or given the standard responses of “that’s how men are”, “are you the only one it has happened to?”, or “at least yours is better than ABC who sufferred XYZ”. Your efforts, feelings, opinions are either minimised or tossed aside for the discrimination to continue without interruption.  The promotion and oiling of the wheels of an unfair system, that is intent on keeping you a second class citizen at best, or with hardly a look in at worst continues. You’re not even allowed to be angry or upset at being made a victim. Oh no, that’s not the feminine thing to do!  You are thereby punished even further for daring to open your mouth to voice your hurt. For your efforts, you get a double dose of shame and re-victimization. Drink it all in, afterall you’re female.  Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Focus on the issue

Africanfinestmums blog - I am female

Before anyone throws the proverbial stones at me with the, “there are bad women too”, please I am speaking in general terms for how the land lies for most women. If you are a lazy, vindictive, manipulative and ill intentioned woman, you know yourself and need to check yourself, as you are not helping our cause. Another oppressive tactic is to use the relatively few bad apples as the poster children to tarnish the majority. Or if you want you can try the, “what about men, men have it bad too” line. Please……… I know that. I will never minimise the challenges men face, or the hardwork, integrity and effort of the good men out there (I am privileged to know some), however this is not the post for that. All that does is to minimise the point I am making. So please don’t do it, I don’t accept your distraction tactic. Both scenarios do co-exist (injustice against male or female), both are not fair, and both equally should be addressed in their own time and space.

Reality

The reality is that too many women are being abused, physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually, financially and socially daily. Many in plain sight, many behind closed doors, and both male and female are consciously and subconsciously banding together to keep it going on. “Times are changing”, they say. “Girls are becoming wiser” they proudly proclaim, yet statistics show that today:

  • In the UK 1 in 3 women aged 16-59 will experience domestic abuse in her lifetime DV Stats via Refuge charity. We’re not talking 1979, we’re talking 2019!! I shudder to think what this figure is in Africa where this is even more prevalent and under reported;
  • most women are still banging on the glass ceiling in their workplace to be given a chance to break through, even though many are more qualified and/or hardworking than their male counterparts;
  • women are still “punished” for taking time off work to have children, by having in most cases to work 10 times as hard to get the same managerial position as their male counterpart when they return;
  • emotional abuse (controlling or coercive behaviour towards another in an intimate or family relationship) although now recognised in some countries as a crime, in reality is not recognised and addressed as such by authorities who can enforce the laws;
  • women still spend more than twice as much time as men on domestic work and looking after children, yet now have the added pressure to contribute to household income 50:50

Yes we can?

Africanfinestmums blog - I am female

Yes we live in an age of Oprah, Beyonce and Serena Williams, (and now the newly appointed Prime Minister of Finland is the youngest ever and female), but the rarity of these is an issue.  Then for those that make it there their fight to the top has been met with every form of discrimination possible, largely founded on their gender.

Yes, we can now vote, but can I say, “no this does not work for me”, when my wellbeing is at stake, and not be accused of being a thot, selfish, inconsiderate, lazy, stupid, so and so? Can a woman stand up and say, “I was abused” and not be shushed, told to get over it, blamed for the abuse happening to her, told off for trying to bring down a man of god bla bla bla Busola Dakola – victim victimized. I mean every excuse under the sun is given, except to address what the male counterpart did to her (even where evidence and a clear pattern of behaviour have been established).  Not enough effort, push or consequence is ever given to motivate him to get help, or focus made towards what society can do to teach and mould men better. Whatever advance we think we’ve made in the past 40 years, in my view it’s not enough for this generation of women and the ones coming after us.

What do we do?

Women we have to do better at teaching our boys how to respect everyone regardless of gender.  We have to teach them the importance of helping, supporting and standing up for the honour of their female counterparts.  For our daughters we need to stand up for ourselves and for them, teaching them strength, grace, independence and how to love and value themselves for the unique individuals they are.  For each other, we need to  their rights, as well as supporting ourselves and each other as sisters instead of shaming each other. Men, you have to hold yourselves accountable for your mess and stop heaping it on the shoulders of women to fix or change for you.  Stop letting your ego destroy you and others under the guise of manliness. Model for your sons by example how to lead with grace and fairness.  Model for your daughters the kind, gracious strength of a man, and how they should be treated by a male counterpart so they don’t accept nonsense. Our society leaders should stop talking about and proposing programmes and laws regarding the empowerment and equality of the female gender, then taking decades to implement it practically, whilst thousands of women around the world are marginalised, abused or killed every day. You’re playing with peoples lives. This significantly affects all of us, it is not a female issue only, it’s a global issue.  If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem because you are enabling it to happen.

I am female..

No more shushing. Enough is enough. Too much to say and write and one post won’t cover it, but I’ll no longer let that stop me from adding my voice. I might be a drop in the ocean, but I’m still a important part of the ocean.  It’s insightful and liberating when one moves past anger to being ready to effect change and take control of the things you can. I am female, one of treasured millions, and I approve my own damn message.

UN Women facts

Commonwealth study shows progress towards gender equality

Working Mother magazine – Can a woman have it all?

 

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