Authored by Deo Tumusiime
I followed with keen interest online engagements on the occasion of International Women’s Day. To say the least, it’s quite disgusting to see what people make of this day. While majority appreciate the fact that women hold a special position in our lives and therefore require recognition, the cartoons all depicted men taking over so-called women’s chores for celebratory purposes. I saw images of men carrying babies, men in the kitchen having a go at cooking, men washing their wives’ bras, e.t.c. And on March 9th, one woman posted an image of a woman being kicked off a cliff by a man saying, “Women’s Day is over”. This is absolutely skewed, overly incredible.
When I was still a young boy, I desired to marry a not-so old girl whom I would grow up with. This growing up together in my remote view, would help us to become one and to share a good part of our life together. God answered my prayers, and at 26, I married a girl of 23. I remember when we had our first child, one lady that knew me so well remarked in Runyankole, “Ba baby bazaire baby” literally meaning that the babies in us had produced a baby! But being ‘baby parents’ helped me to appreciate the need for mutural co-existence with my wife and appreciation of the need to work together for a common goal. My wife put her expertise at table, I put mine and we have built our family without one of us ever assuming more importance over the other. Each one of us is head of the family when it matters, and housework has no sex. In our setting, woman’s day doesn’t arise-it is celebrated every day.
One thing that many people tend to take for granted is women’s meekness. A woman is naturally meek on purpose. Anyone that has undergone birthing pain to bring a child into this world would be the last to want such a child to die. It is against this background that women invest particularly extra effort n in every sphere to ensure that their children live a pleasant life. Sadly many of us misunderstand all this to mean that it is the duty of women to do what they do. We are happy to cross our legs and order for food instead of participating in the cooking process! And when there isn’t enough salt, we kick them!
Women have perpetually been looked at as subservient to men, but if this world were to be fair, it is actually men that ought to be the subservient. Yes, because if every man was born of a woman, then without woman there would be no man. Forget about the biblical writings that God created Adam first…we all know how children are born. And if indeed God could cause Mother Mary to conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit, then woman needed no man to give birth. But the writers made the initial mistake of depicting Eve as Adam’s helper, someone created to kill off his boredom, and this is where the whole problem emanated.
I can understand the spirit with which women’s Day was conceived, but in as far as this continues to make women be looked at as a special interest group, it defies its very purpose. As long as men continue to look at 365 days in a year as men’s days and women’s day as one day, then we are simply stagnated instead of moving forward to address the inherent gender disparities in our society.
In their wisdom, the framers of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Humam Rights, rightly observed that ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE BORN EQUAL IN DIGNITY AND RIGHTS. As such, male and female are born equal but the inequalities we see are humanly constructed. Women’s Day should therefore be a day to rally the human race to appreciate our equality rather than be seen as a special day for women. So this business of saying that men should hit the kitchen on women’s day is a shame…..men must ‘cook’ everyday if they must eat every day.
I often love to say how blessed I am to be born in a family of women only. I live in my house with my wife, two daughters and a female house help. As a lone man in my household, I have learnt to respect the women in my life and in any case I wasn’t to behave, they could use their numerical advantage to deal with me!
It is my humble prayer that we learn to celebrate humanity irrespective of our sex variations. This ought to be an everyday thing because our state of being male or female is only a small component of what each one of us is capable of.
May God continue to enlighten us to fully appreciate his mighty purpose for our life and grow in us the spirit of respectful co-existence.