Thursday, 20 November 2014

October- The Ladies’ Month

October is always a very interesting month for the female folk. It is that time of the year when the world pays close attention to various issues affecting women! Itisfor instance the breast cancer awareness month, (every October 11 is the International day of the girl).But also because there was random and particular coverage of general issues affecting women in the world- the so-called ‘women issues’- in the media. In my country, we had four pages of a key national newspaper dedicated to the International day of the girl, with the role of my first lady in these celebrations carefully highlighted. I bet feminists that campaigned for such focus five decades and more ago were smiling in their graves and the living felt rewarded. Among the issues randomly covered in the media was ‘the Taboo menstruating in India’ and street harassment in New York
Both articles confirmed that every October is indeed a month for the female folk. The articles only highlighted the issues that women confront everyday, in different societies. Issues that have been normalized and will only receive focus in October next year-if at all. I do appreciate the focus but it is all a half-baked cookie. For instance, since it was the breast cancer awareness month, women got discounted pap-smear tests and free breast cancer screening in different hospitals in the city. This was a great initiative but it ought to be conducted through the year- considering that a majority of Kenyan women cannot afford such tests. Also, are such testing centers like this available in the village? Not really.
This is my way of saying that October is a blessing in disguise for women issues, but it is also over-rated causing it to be a challenge. The real challenge is as a result of setting aside a particular month for women issues-Women concerns continue to lag behind the global and national agenda because they are separated from society issues. October has almost become like December, the Christmas-month or the Ramadan month. Like these religious months, it is easy to postpone women issues until that time of the year- despite the fact that most women are affected by most of these issues through out the year and the issues are intertwined in other society issues. If this remains the case, women and their fundamental concern swill remain at the bottom of critical agenda and will be kept waiting for another October before these issues are raised again (okay I may sound extreme but this is the reality).

In turn, men that occupy key decision-making posts will never understand the need to put these issues on whatever agenda. Men will still not understand why sanitary towels should be made free or cheaper for girls. They will not bother to understand certain diets for female teenagers in high schools.Sex and reproductive education in mixed schools will remain a topic that teenage boys giggle about. As for the women, they will remain apologetic for their anatomy, and elderly women will continue speaking in hushed tones when discussing the female body. Sex and everything else it comes with like condoms and contraceptives will remain  ‘the sweetest taboo’- to never talk about until marriage. If the October hype continues, we will never have male feminists that understand gender inequalities and strive to address them in our society.  We will continue to have bitter female feminists that campaign for the wrong causes and often bring their understandable emotions to dealing with issues affecting women.Then, sadly, we will never be the kind of feminists that Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie hoped for. Check the video below or visit this link here

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