by KAUTHAR ROOMANEY
IT is said that women hold up half of the sky but, too often, many of us do not even realise exactly by how much.
We have reached a trying time in South Africa. Not only is COVID-19 causing an uproar, our sisters are still fighting for a place in the world. Women are seen as inferior, meek and an object to some.
It is extremely difficult to break that mindset and demand equal rights and opportunities. While some women constantly face gender-based violence and inequality, others battle with fulfilling the traditional role of a woman.
The traditional societal role of women has remained unchanged for many years. Often, we hear that a woman’s place is in the kitchen or ‘you can’t get married unless your rotis are round’. We see how women are expected to fulfil those roles in our households, amongst our families and in our communities.
A common example is when men and children sit to eat first. Moreover, society determines what is acceptable for and required of a woman. The problem stems from previous generations that gave rise to the patriarchy and stereotypical roles of a woman.
In another light, women make up half of our country’s population. There is a demand for women to be empowered and gender equality to be restored in order for women to contribute in all spheres of life.
This needs to be achieved for our country to gain sustainable development.
Women empowerment is one of the most infallible ways to break the patriarchy and lift people, communities and nations out of inequality.
There is still a long road ahead before women can enjoy fundamental rights. However, the turning point would be if government eradicates discriminating laws and societal practices that create a negative effect in our country.
Furthermore, stronger forms of leadership undoubtedly lie in untapped resources.
Another strong argument is the notion of feminism. What people fail to understand is that feminism does not mean misandry. Rather, it means that females do not believe in the patriarchy and gender norms given to a female.
Feminism is a start of women abolishing the stereotypes, demanding equality, unapologetically revealing their ambitions and proving their success.
Despite the daily struggles women face, they still, somehow, manage to rise above them. Every day we hear about female entrepreneurs, influencers speaking up, new movements created to raise awareness and seek justice.
We have mothers studying at the age of 40, housewives trying to gain independence, young girls starting NGOs and women using their voices and strength to uplift others.
Overcoming this generation-long battle starts with small steps, and starts with you. Mothers, educate your sons; husbands, appreciate your wives and offer to help around the house; brothers look after your sisters; and men, no means no.
The responsibility should always be equal. This will not take away the problem but it will surely help.
Think about it, what would a future that is female look like if women were given a mike and women who are woken enough and became this powerful force of change, leading and setting new rules?
Ladies, remember, there is nothing more powerful than a woman who chooses to believe in herself and goes all out in pursuit of her dreams.
Kauthar Roomaney is a survivor, teacher and motivational speaker.