International Women’s Day 2020 theme ‘ I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights’. The year ahead is aiming to make progress on gender equality, according to (unwomen.org).
We look at some of the challenges faced by women like domestic violence and femicide cases that made headlines last year. Women will never be equal just as long as they live in fear for their lives, at home or just out in the neighbourhood. Women fear being raped and getting killed.
Our article continues on ‘doing good’ theme. Gender does not differentiate between men and women when it comes to doing good or bad. It all starts and ends with you.
Let us therefore commemorate this day and the year ahead by appreciating the women in our lives, wives, girlfriends, mothers, grandmothers, granddaughters, sisters, nieces, cousins and sisters around the world. Appreciation is followed by works. It takes all of us to produce something good.
Domestic violence affect both men and women but statistics show that a high number of women are killed than men.
There has been a rise in femicide cases over the last couple of years the world over. I read with dismay killings of women committed by man, in most cases boyfriends, exes. sons, grandsons, husbands and guardians. South African media covered and showed images of beautiful young ladies killed in their prime, young, pretty and with so much to live for.
Femicide incidents have caused outrage in India, France and South Africa, just to mention a few countries. These are the killings we know about, there may be some that have not come to light. Such killings have caused dismay and disbelief. I for one is still tortured by images of the girls that met their end in brutal circumstances, beautiful and smiling girls, and it doesn’t make sense.
Let’s STOP this.
I take this opportunity to thank the publications and journalism that have highlighted the barbaric killings of women, highlighting how much we still need to change as humankind. According to amnesty.org ‘gender based violence has reached undeniably alarming levels in South Africa.’
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also acknowledged that South was facing national crisis that of violence against women. Amongst other things Ramaphosa has promised harsher penalties and is also setting up 11 new courts to investigate cold cases.
We still live in a world where women and girls are not safe to casually go out for a walk in broad day light, visit the shops or just be part of society.
What gives someone a right and power to kill somebody else’s child?
Some of the headlines in 2019 is 19 year old Uyinene Mretyana killed by a post office worker in South Africa. Her crime: being sent by her mom to collect a parcel from the post office.
Another young lady 14 year old Janika Mallo who had been missing was found buried in a backyard having been raped.
University student 19 year old Jesse Hess was found dead with her grandfather in a flat, murdered in her bed. These are just a few cases that caught my eye in the month of August/ September 2019 but the list is very long and makes depressing reading.
Social media quickly reported on a 23 year old woman who was raped then set alight in Utter Pradesh district, India (telegrapg.c.uk). Images of activists burning effigies of rapists in Amritsar, India were circulated around the world on social media and by tabloid press.
The media also showed images of women holding up banners representing 101 femicide cases in France in 2019. Images of ANC women joined by others have also demonstrated about domestic violence and aggression against women.
Femicide census reports that 149 women were killed by men in 2018 most being killed by partners, exes, sons and grandsons.
Domestic violence has negative impact on families especially children. It also affects communities when death occurs.
It is difficult to judge but what gives one a right to kill?
If the situation is that bad please seek help from the relevant authorities, police, social services and organisation that help families. Help is there if only we learn to ask and talk to somebody, a neighbour, work colleague or anybody who will listen.
Avoid eye service
Gender equality is a good but how we behave as women matters. When grouped together women often show unity and purpose and that is good. Women organisations have fought and achieved a lot for women. Women earned the right to vote over 100 years ago. The suffragettes movement violently campaigned for female votes and achieved this in 1918.
Today, most if not all females have access to legal advice, income, own land and property, sit on influential boards, access to health, education and so on. This is good. But there is still more to be done because there are still regimes, cultures and religions thwarting women/ girl child progress.
What matters as women and individuals is what we do when no one is watching. Behaviour matters. How we relate to one another at local level, at home, community, district and so on matters.
We look for role models from far away lands: in magazines, overseas, famous celebrities and yet real role models are within our midst, our communities. It may be an older lady with lots of life experiences to share, school teacher, a local scientist or pilot, or someone raising money for charity. Learn to appreciate your local heroes too.
Let us practice what we preach. If a friend is in need and requires our help, maybe a reference or information please help them. None of us can stop anyone from having what is supposed to be theirs, it may take some time but they will get to where they are supposed to get with or without our help.
- Assist if you are in a position to do so.
- Doing our bit of good even when no one is watching matters.
- There are bad apples on both sides of the gender divide.
- Eye service is empty.
Remember it all starts and ends with you.
Doing good even when no one is watching is what we should aim for.
Going forward: continue highlighting and putting issues that affect women on the agenda. Although it makes difficult reading, domestic violence and all form of hate should be exposed. Maybe seeing and reading such stories may help us to become better people. It is sad that we still live in a world where bad overshadows some of the good things human kind is doing.
To all the women, you are precious and priceless.