Tag Archives: feminism

Girls’ rights are human rights

28 Sep

IDOTG picFollowing a two year campaign led by international NGO, Plan International, the United Nations declared October 11, 2012 the very first International Day of the Girl Child. This year will mark the second celebration of the day on Friday 11 October.

The International Day of the Girl is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on girls’ rights and highlight gender inequalities that remain between girls and boys. Girls today still face unique challenges, that prevent them from realising their full potential, simply because of their gender.

As we count down to October 11, we’ll be running feature articles highlighting some of the challenges faced by girls around the world. On October 11, we ask you to commit to spreading the word to at least 3 people in your life who may not be aware of these injustices. Together we can help make a difference!

We leave you with the words of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage girl who made headlines last year when the Taliban shot her for advocating for girls’ right to education, “I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard”.

Photo credit:airwaves1

Stop the rape of our children – sign the petition!

21 Jul

Nigeria
On Tuesday 16 July 2013, the Nigerian Federal Senate approved the marriage of under-aged children in the country. We at Every African Women are outraged that once again girls’ rights are being openly violated under the guise of culture and religion.

The new law sets aside the constitutional requirement that a child must be at least 18 years old to enter into an agreement of marriage. Supporters of the under-age law include Senator Yerima Ahmad Sani who himself recently married a 13-year-old Egyptian girl. In justifying his actions he stated that the constitutional stipulation of a minimum age was at variance with Islamic law. How convenient then that the Senate’s actions have now legalised his actions!

Sign our petition to the Nigerian National Assembly demanding that they stop the legalisation of child marriage. Pass it on to everyone you know, man or woman, and stop the legal rape of our children and little sisters!

SIGN THE PETITION NOW

Quote of the week – If your dreams do not scare you

15 Jun

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The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Three women, three countries, three generations

14 Jun

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A few weeks ago I was a little taken aback to see an argument play out on Twitter which resulted in the posting of a nude picture of a young woman by her ex boyfriend. Whilst she was no shrinking violet, she was clearly shocked to find her private self exposed to the entire world.

What struck me about this drama were the obvious intergenerational differences in what was considered ‘normal’ behaviour by the various players. Join us over the next few weeks as we dig deeper into this issue and sit down with three women spanning three generations and from three very different countries to find out what binds them together and what sets them apart.

Quote of the week – I’ve learned in life

2 May

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I’ve learned in life that you don’t have to know the answers to everything. Sometimes it’s enough simply to sit back and watch the drama of your life play out before you. To step in too soon would be to prevent new opportunities taking shape.

Sani Dowa

Are all African men promiscuous?

25 Apr

promiscuous

By Bekithemba Mhlanga

 

Way before Tiger Woods and the golf club incident; he was referred to by some female sections as the whitest black man on earth. Fast-forward a few years and the slight came – what could you expect, the black African genes in him had to come to the fore. He simply could not stop his eye wandering and keep his pants zipped, it’s in the genes!

The promiscuous African male has been an urban legend for years. Nothing stirs gender wars more fervently than the question of who is more promiscuous male or female. One then adds fuel to the fire by throwing race into the equation – and dares suggest that most African males are promiscuous. The assumption being that they are more promiscuous than their Caucasian, Arabic or Oriental counterparts.

This assumption is a toxic as suggesting that all Muslims are terrorists just because some terrorists happen to be Muslim!

The fact is no one knows if African males are more promiscuous than males in other parts of the world. The evidence put forward can at best be said to be circumstantial mainly on the basis of the research from HIV / AIDS infection rates in Africa. Take for instance the UN report entitled ‘Women and HIV / Aids – Confronting the Crisis’ which noted that almost universally in Africa, cultural expectations have encouraged men to have multiple partners while women are expected to abstain or be faithful. How valid this is in a continent with over 2000 tribal traditions, and many varieties of Christian and Islamic communities, is open to debate.

To test the validity of this assumption, I did a little research and asked African males whether they are more promiscuous than other people. The biggest reaction was that it’s not a question of promiscuity of African males just that they are serial polygamists while white males are serial monogamists. The argument being that both have a natural tendency to mate with as many females as possible just that African men want to have them all at once. The question is why?

There’s a huge difference between explaining behaviour and excusing it. Explaining it assumes a logical reason for going down a certain path while the latter seeking to atone for the behaviour pattern. My own observation is that in the ‘explaining’ class are cultural, biological and economic factors. In the ‘excuse’ corner are what I’ve classed as the ‘because I can’, ‘lack of sexual satisfaction from one partner’, and ‘peer pressure’ factors. Whilst African males cannot be said to have a monopoly of these factors – I’ve only looked at them from the African male perspective for the purpose of this column.

The unmarried African males I spoke to argued that their promiscuity is to be expected since single people tend to have more sexual partners than married ones (at least that’s the way it’s supposed to be). They point out there is no cultural obligation to have one partner, in fact quite the opposite. For this group it would appear then that promiscuity is some sort of entitlement and a rite of passage. It’s part of our rich African culture – whatever that means.

Controversy emerged when I moved on to the married African male. Surely if it’s a question of having sex on tap then the married African male should not be promiscuous. But then the cultural shield is held up again. It’s always been accepted that the African male can take on more than one wife or have a mistress as all this is for the good of the family. How this is so, I have no idea. Surprisingly, none of my interviewees quoted the bible or the Koran to go forth and multiply.

It’s the biological explanation that seems to be the bastion of the promiscuous male though. One chap put it to me that it’s simply a fact that males tend to think about sex more often than females. And there’s no shortage of statistics to back this up. I was pointed to one research paper that suggested males think of sex six times in an hour while women do so four times in an hour. Admittedly the research said nothing about whether this was with one partner or multiple partners

We all know Africa is a super patriarchal society and the effects of this patriarchy are manifested in the economic power imbalance between males and females. An unintended consequence of this is that African women are vulnerable to wily African males who exploit this for their own benefit. In fact some see this as passport to go out and sow their wild oats with total abandon. I recall a discussion with a colleague who kept a harem of women in Soweto South Africa. On quizzing him about how he got his way with so many women – his response was that Soweto girls are easy – quarter chicken and chips from KFC does the trick. The pattern repeats itself regardless of economic status – for the chap on low income it may be the KFC meal, for the middle income it’s that dress and hairdo and for the super-rich it’s the car and the house.

What of the second category – the ‘excuse’ class? It was clear from my research that there’re some African males who generally believe they can be promiscuous – whether married or not – just because they can. For this group, if they can mate with as many partners as they can they will and they don’t need to explain it. A second factor with this group is the argument that at some point the fun and action fades with the one partner, to them variety is the spice of life. This herd tends to hunt for the opposite sex of similar minds. There is a residue of the promiscuous African male who find themselves in this group simply because their friends are doing it. Whether this is a manifestation of some dormant promiscuity driver is for the concerned to explain.

To ask whether there’s anything that African females can do to change this behaviour is tantamount to asking them to solve a problem they did not create – unfair and pointless. The onus is on the males themselves. It’s up to the guilty males to realise that being monogamous, whether serial or otherwise – is not being a mug. It’s about valuing your self-worth, upholding morals and values that are not only good for the individual but also show respect for your partner. It’s about setting an example to your children and shaping how your daughters will be treated tomorrow.

Many will say, it is easier said than done. Granted! But the truth of the matter is the greater majority of African males are faithful and it’s the minority few who give the rest of us a bad name. This is exactly what the bell shaped curve reveals – that we all live in mediokristan – not in the extrimistan world of the promiscuous African male.

Quote of the Week – Women rule the world

20 Apr

women rule the world

Women really do rule the world. They just haven’t figured it out yet. When they do, and they will, we’re all in big big trouble.

Doctor Leon