50:50 ngumu kufikika!!

Posted: July 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Leo asubuhi nimemsikia mama mmoja anamuombea mwanae wa kike wakati anamuaga kuelekea shule, akamalizia maombi yake kwa kusema “Utabarikiwa mwanangu Jesca, ukue uje uolewe na rais” Imenishangaza, kilichonishangaza ni ile dhana ya kuwa bado wako wanawake wenye uelewa wa aina ya huyu mama wenye mawazo ya aina hii ya kua mwanae akikua aolewe na rais? Kwa maana awe “first lady” sijapenda mawazo ya huyo mama maana naona kama ni mawazo ya kizamani. Miaka ya hivi karibuni kumekuwa na mwamko katika elimu kwa watoto wa kike na ukizingatia wanadai usawa wa 50:50. Kilichoingia akilini mwangu kwa haraka muda huo ni kwa nini huyu mama asimwambie mwanae kua uwe rais? Nimegundua bado watoto wa Kitanzania hasa wa kike bado kuna safari ndefu ya kuwaza kuwa Rais wa nchi, CEO, Ma-Inspekta Jenerali wa Polisi, all roles of leadership which have been dominated by male figures. Unfortunately, such a mindset propagates from the highly sexist culture which ensures a dearth of true female role models who are successful without being married or more famous/successful than their male spouse.

In the woman’s statement was a form of discrimination that’s prevalent in Tanzania. Lacking an established word for it, I coined it as ‘wifeism’. Wifeism is the belief that a woman’s solely exists in life to please her husband at the detriment of her development. I’d also like to define it as discrimination on women based on marital status. Its psychological and economic significance has an interesting intertwining that makes its effects range from subtlety to outright suppressive.

Now I’m not saying women in marriage should neglect their roles as wives and deem it as unimportant or that single women should sacrifice marriage for their profession. On the contrary, there should be an desire to see oneself as a wife and a professional (well, except one prefers to be a professional wife or a single professional). Why be great in one aspect when you can be great in both? Is this possible? In MY opinion, a woman’s potential to effectively manage a family and job surpasses that of a man.

Lastly, no one else can push for the progress of women harder than women themselves: it’s a simple case of personal incentives. And yes, there are paternalistic structures that hold women back and it’s hard to break down centuries of male dominance. However, when Tanzania women give up, the fight will certainly be over. So women, let’s destroy this culture of wifeism by not supporting repressive notions of marriage. And men, let’s support our women. Every time women are held back, we are collectively held back. I know for a certain that I’ll constantly be rooting for my future wife.

Follow me on twitter @noor_abdul and Instagram @abdul_noor

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