In my previous article I attempted to explore the reasons why men should be part of the empowerment of women and that if we leave them behind, it also means we have left behind a 50% part of the solution to end gender-based violence.
Men and boys need to have the understanding that women, girls and young people contribute immensely to the community and national development. But we have overlooked the role that women play in the development of their homes, community and nation at large.
It is now an urgent call that selfishness and limited mindsets that separate men and women be removed and replaced by fresh ways of thinking and understanding. That as we begin to take this journey, we tap into our own traditional social capital that we have as an infrastructure that can help us to advance this cause, that we go back to the drawing board and use what we have to advance our own communities.
The word of God says in the book of Hosea 4:6; “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” Now, I want just to focus on the part that says; “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge”.
The reason we are where we are in terms of Africa ailing in debt, languishing in poverty, trending as “the least among the nations” and known for mostly the negative narrative, is that we either lack knowledge, or we have ignored it and we are not honest while mostly we are self-centred.
When we talk about ending GBV, discrimination, fight for inclusion of women and girls in decision-making, advocate for the elimination of all violations of human rights, we are simply advocating for peaceful and prosperous communities. This is the knowledge that we have lacked as men and women, boys and girls for a long time in Zimbabwe and Africa in general.
For many years, focusing on the rights of girls and youths has often been confined to women and a few men. However, we expect people from all walks of life to change their mindset and attitudes towards girls and boys rights. All of us should advance the rights of girls and women.
It should be noted that the girl and woman that we are talking about is your sister or your daughter. The woman that we are talking about is your mother or your wife. They are your dear aunts, friends’ wife or respected women in society — Jana Ncube Musimwa of This World Ministries, Eve Gadzikwa, Chipo Mutasa, Tsitsi Masiiwa, Nyaradzo Mashayamombe, Grace Chirenje and Priscillar Sanyanga, among others who are fighting for the rights of children.
There are mothers who are suffering to get access to health facilities because government is failing to provide free and good health services. We have women on national duty — these are women politicians in parliament like Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga who are passionate about the plight of women. They are the Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvandas who are advocating for the rights of women and girls and fighting for social justice in the world.
There are women who are working on the land to feed Zimbabwe, they are the ones who groomed and sent us to school. We need to stop disrespecting them and view them as “baby- making machines” or “punching bags”. We have lost our respect and integrity, but we need to value them as God’s gift to humanity.
Women are generally great visionaries, managers and leaders. They hardly steal, and they are not selfish. This is the biggest attribute that the world has failed to tap into. When women assume positions of leadership, it’s seldom about what they will benefit from it, but it’s more about what they can do for people and how they can make the lives of others better. It is ignorance of this world that we are where we are because we left the great leaders, managers and visionaries behind.
The reason why we are suffering is that the world is being run by men only. I am not insinuating that only women should lead, or that all men are bad leaders, but I am saying women and men should partner in the development of societies so that economies prosper and we eradicate poverty.
Nyaradzo “Nyari” Mashayamombe is the founder and executive director of Tag a Life International Trust (TaLI), a girl child rights organisation, She is a development consultant, entrepreneur and singer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org