Women’s Day in SA – Let’s Cut the Crapspeak
National Women’s Day 2019, South Africa – Every year there are discussions which take place around the rights of women. Every year we ask the same questions, give the same answers, describe the same circumstances and offer the same solutions. Quite frankly, I’m tired of it. What is being DONE, and who needs to ensure this process of respecting women actually finds its way into the fabric of society? What does government itself actually do other than spend money on awareness campaigns and fruitless outcomes? What measures is parliament taking? How is the law enforced? Is access to justice for women really as simple as going to a police station and reporting a crime?
I don’t even begin to touch on rape and intimidation behind closed doors. Imagine a child, frozen in fear, unable to speak, unable to grasp the injustice of what is happening to them, unable to express the fear which drives them to silence and chains them in words unspoken. If you can imagine that, you may begin to understand the load women carry.
Every Women’s Day I hear sentiments like, “every day should be women’s day”, and questions like, “why isn’t there a day for men?” Then I hear men who say things like, “society is in a mess because no-one is looking after the kids,” which suggests that women should be in the kitchen looking after the kids and men should be doing a ‘mans work’. This particular comment gets my nuts in a knot.
Women’s Day – Let’s cut the crapspeak come 2020
Firstly, if men were capable of looking after their women, keeping their zip up until they got home and paid their dues to women (with kids and where she has been a housewife) once they got tired of them perhaps society wouldn’t be in the mess it is in. When a man doesn’t live up to his responsibilities, those become the responsibility of the woman. Women are at the short end of the stick and a day like Women’s Day is to highlight the issues I raise here and bring understanding to men. I personally don’t agree with having a Women’s Day, but IT IS NECESSARY because there are too many men in the world who JUST DON’T GET IT. Yes! There are good men, and if you are one of them, great! I haven’t always been. Fact.
- A man and a woman bring a child into the world. A woman carries that child, often without support from the partner. She must then feed, clothe, motivate and educate that child. But she will earn less than a man in the workplace, doing the exact same job, because she is a woman? It’s a social ill set in a world where patriarchy is finding it difficult to give way to democratic values which reach beyond the material substance of a mans dreams … and in the process fails to consider a women’s reality.
- A man is unemployed. He commits a crime and goes to prison. The woman becomes the sole bread winner overnight. She may have never worked before but is suddenly thrust into a world where she is held accountable for a mans crimes while he is stripped of his responsibilities inside of prison. She becomes both responsible and accountable for those children and the work that needs to be done to raise them. Chances are she’ll still visit the man behind bars with a parcel once a month or more.
Even our systems of processing justice are set up in a way which makes the women responsible where a man fails and equally accountable in the workplace, but not worth the same pay. It’s a logical fragmentation which splinters from the brain and bursts the mind. It does not work. It does not make sense. The incarceration system is a case in point as mentioned in point 2 above. When a man goes to prison, the prison system, by stripping him of the right ‘not to be exploited’, renders his wife or partner responsible for his responsibilities.
I have said it so often in the last 2 and a half decades, that we need African solutions to African problems. The way we look at our social work department also needs to be a focus of our attention. NPO’s and NGO’s must align toward a constructive aim using the various means of getting there.
SCODESA as Opposed to CODESA
CODESA sold South africans out to the highest bidder in business. Society was not the main focus of CODESA. This is clearly evident now, to those who take an impartial look back at how things have unfolded in South Africa since the 1992 Referendum. We need a SCODESA. A Social Convention for a Democratic South Africa where our systems of incarceration, social work departments and NPO’s are driven by ONE aim, to alleviate poverty, create jobs and provide a means of healing the social sores which fester as a result of neglect and inattention.
What is government doing … talking?
The only way to do all the above is to demand that parliament pass laws to ensure these processes take place. It is up to government and business in this country to establish the platforms upon which solutions are debated, agreed to, introduced by law through our parliamentary processes and implemented.
There is something stubborn about our leadership. Cyril Ramaphosa has an opportunity (if his own ANC will give him the real chance) to make Women’s Day 2020 meaningful, to celebrate successes in terms of implemented laws which make the equality of women a reality, rather than a damp squib of crapspeak and an opportunity to take a day off and spend money on unwarranted celebrations.