As I was talking to him asking his opinions, he replied “If you women were able to do anything, there won’t be any reason to give you much opportunities more than men and things shouldn’t be made easier for you as an exception.” I couldn’t believe what my ears just heard at that moment and I lost words to say to my close friend who only thinks that women can not do anything on their own capability except if they are given extra help and exception.
At that moment, I only wanted to know what he really takes women for. So I asked him “What do you see in a woman individually starting from your sisters, mother and girl friends? He replied “ women have a responsibility of giving birth and raise their kids at home. That’s Rwandans culture from the past years because men are the heads of the family and must strive for whatever needed and women should take care of their homes.
Someone who thinks like that needs extra education and mind improvement. I couldn’t bring myself to continue the conversation with that person and I only replied him “I know we are able because I’ve experience and testimony of what I’ve done on my own with my best mind and even if you recommend me other women who can do it, you will receive tons of lists of women who strived for their own development being mothers to their children but also citizens to their countries.” I wanted to hear a word from another person and I asked an intelligent friend of mine how does he balance both boys and girls responsibilities at home and in other activities taking into consideration about women participation in community development. He said the words that I believe every single person must consider in their daily life, “I agree with people who advocate for gender equality except on one issue. I don’t believe men and women are equal or should be. I believe that women( especially those who believe it) are superior than men by far. They have more responsibility and capacity naturally.”
“Throughout history, men tried to undermine and rejected this reality in so many ways, He continued. In fact I think even the gender concepts in place don’t clearly bring out the strength of a woman and her important role in life. They are kind of male dominated and I believe that a woman who wishes to be like a man is demoting herself because she is pursuing something of probably lesser quality.”
The words from these two people left me with so many questions like: If we, as women are able to feel our inner ability to anything as men, why don’t we go for it? Why do we need men and others to convince them the visible reality? Why do we always need so many explanations for our true identity? And the only answer which came to my mind was “women’s ability has always been undermined to the extend that if a woman does something and succeeds, the whole community takes her as a superhero or as someone maybe with some supernatural powers instead of valuing her success as something normal as a responsibility to her.
The community sometimes help us to feel the weakness that we don’t normally have. Taking example in education, girls are not promoted with same aggregate with boys whether primary leaving and Ordinary level leaving. This causes unnecessary confusions to girls and conflicts with boys who can not understand why this has to be done because girls will always think that due to this, they are weak human beings who can not compete with boys even in mental ability letting alone physical abilities.
I, as an individual know that women’s ability have been so long ignored due to many reasons including lack of self confidence due to history and background of our country and the mindsets of people who still believes that women are of children production. This had been done by men and they are also the ones who are needed to contribute to pushing women towards their dreams, to value their actions and results but not in any miracle or super heroism way. And we, as women must find our way through everything using our minds without any limitations to anything because everything men does, women can too. And I want to tell girls that think to use their gender as an excuse of exception or in a favor of anything without considering their self esteem and dignity that they need to stand up and work because hardwork pays not only financially but also respect too and everyone will be proud of you walking with your head held high without any shame at all because you know that you totally deserve the respect.
By Marie Aimée KEZA
The views expressed in this article are of the author.
The Express News