It is a numbers game

Wendy Nyakurerwa Her Point of View  —
Women’s rights are human rights.The message was that short and simple as women from “across the world” took to the streets to send a strong word to US president Donald Trump’s administration. That chauvinist of a president!

Washington, DC was the epicentre of the massive marches, with more taking place in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Vienna, Geneva and Amsterdam; among many other places.

Therefore the Americas and Europe minus Africa and Asia constitutes the entire “world”; which however is not the brief of this column and therefore l will let it pass.

Here in Zimbabwe, we were not part of that protest. Maybe we subconsciously do not really care what Trump does or does not do, considering that we have our own gender sensitive President.

However, the march aimed at bringing together people of all genders and backgrounds. Estimates say over a million women, men and children took part in the demonstrations and spoke with one loud voice.

Organisers said the marches were not an anti-Trump movement per se, but rather a protest against hate speech, hateful rhetoric against women, misogyny and bigotry.

And inasmuch as Zimbabweans only offered moral support through social media, most people who followed the march got away with a lesson or two.

Most importantly, there is strength in numbers.

International television channels such as the BBC, CNN and Sky News, among others, who usually have more “important” issues to cover, could not ignore the women’s mega march and took time to alternate between them and Trump’s inauguration. Conversely, numbers lack in Zimbabwe’s case.

Our women’s rights movement is characterised and stifled by people with individualistic tendencies. I will cut to the chase; this business of beating about the bush is our stumbling block to real development.

There is a common purpose for that movement – which is the acquisition of gender equity – but we have too many people pulling in too many directions.

Organisations such as Musasa Project and Gender Links, among many others, are working in isolation. Very rarely do they join hands for any cause, to make the adequate numbers.

What stops them from doing so, considering that their underlying cause is identical? At the end of the day it is about equal opportunities regardless of gender, isn’t it; instead of sourcing donor funding?

Yet from the approach of the majority of the women rights activists, you get the feeling that each and every one of the organisations is preoccupied with proving to the donor that they have the largest impact and therefore they deserve more money.

At the end of the day, women’s rights are trampled upon from many angles and the so-called activists remain tight-lipped as they busy themselves preparing funding proposals.

Not so long ago, an overtly offensive air conditioning advert was prominently placed in The Daily News. A smiling woman, mouth wide open, was said to be “getting a blow job”. Yes, it was that gross.

With such high levels of gender insensitivity slapping us right in face, not even one of the gender activists uttered a word, or at least l didn’t hear them protesting against such sexual innuendos.

Enter Wicknell Chivayo, that bigot who is ever reckless with his denigration of women as a way of making himself feel more macho. His name is now synonymous with sexism.

In the past, he has described Zimbabwean women as “nothing less of whores and whisky drinkers who are only impressed with US$1 000”.

He has also claimed that local women are stubborn, disrespectful and dull.

Again, l have kept my big ears on the ground to hear a backlash from the individualistic organisations representing women in Zimbabwe. It is yet to come, all l hear are murmurs from disturbed individuals. If this cannot trigger a mega demonstration this side of the equator, l don’t know if anything ever will.

But there is more. The Mighty Warriors must be the most down-trodden species in this country but no activist fights in their corner. They have had to hitchhike from the Harare International Airport to their homes after a grueling national assignment.

By the way, have their arrears dating back to 2010 been cleared yet? Most probably not.

On the other hand, the Warriors’ bread is well buttered on both sides, if not too much for their own good as they proved in Gabon.

So much for representing women.

For as long as the so-called activists continue to look the other way as the real issues unfold, gender equity will remain a pipe dream in this beautiful country of ours.

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Twitter: @wnyakurerwa

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