Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Women in Zimbabwe

Interesting article on the plight of women in Zimbabwe from allAfrica:

Zimbabwe: Politics And Prejudice - Plight of Zim Women
"She is a bright and articulate woman who shall remain nameless. We talked about women's participation in public life; about politics, ideation and public writing, for she herself is a writer of unique pedigree.

I asked her why she does not write more often; why, indeed, she does not participate more in politics and public life. She had tried, she said, because she is as passionate as every other Zimbabwean about her country. But she has often felt humiliated and terribly let down by her fellow countrymen and only because she is a woman who has dared to speak her mind.

So she continued: "You do not understand, Alex, but I appreciate your position because you are a man."

Because, you see, more often than not, criticism in respect of a woman is not so much about the products of her cerebral matter but more about her gender and much that is attached to womanhood.

The ammunition of choice is targeted not simply at her ideas -- it often rounds on her person, on how many children she has outside marriage, on her single-motherhood status, on the alleged numbers of her sleeping partners, real or imagined. Or, perhaps, how easy she is to provide services of a personal nature. It is, most regrettably and shamefully, targeted at the nether and sacred regions of a woman's anatomy, notwithstanding their irrelevance in the generation of ideas. "That is why you do not have a husband!" is a familiar refrain although the same characters would not dare say, "that is why you do not have a wife" to a male politician.

There are many women in Zimbabwe who have taken roles in public life. They are writers, activists, politicians, business executives, wives of politicians, etc. They are brave women and when you think of the hate language they have to face each day, sometimes for offences of their male counterparts, you can see why theirs is a hard and rugged road and why, eventually, some choose self-censorship or at worst, to steer clear of public life.

Slowly, but surely, I appreciated my friend's predicament and that of other women in her position. They face ridicule not for their ideas but about their private lives; they have to live with criticism of their looks as opposed to their views; they have to watch and listen to anonymous characters describing in precise detail their wild imaginations or fantasies about the woman's reproductive organs and how she uses them, etc."

Please continue to read the article by Alex T. Magaisa, originally published in the Zimbabwe Standard.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

an interesting topic!

keep posting,