Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day, 2012.

There is still a lot of work to be done. I recently attended a women-only event, something that I do very rarely outside of kitchen parties and bridal showers, organized by TANZICT. The idea was to bring together female social media practitioners to talk about their work and give their sistren an idea of what social media can do for them. Dunia Duara, Chick About Town and myself were recruited to speak- the event is covered here by Pernille.

The reasons for making it a single-gender event were explained by our convenor Catherinerose Barretto quite succinctly: when men are in the room, women's participation decreases. Even those of us who are lucky enough to be employed and otherwise 'empowered' women can attest to the fact that living in a patriarchal society comes with its inescapable daily challenges. Watching the morning news today, listening to the various gender activists talking about the particular problems of Tanzanian women, I wondered to myself if we are giving this issue the kind of emphasis that it needs.

I don't think that we are. Not as a society, not as self-identified feminists, not as gender activists.

In the past couple of months I have been embroiled in more discussions about gender than in the past two or more years put together. And to my dismay, the topic still meets with more male suspicion and hostility than it warrants. Clearly, the dialogue needs to be opened up and men need to be recruited to the cause.

So: Happy Women's Day, whatever your gender. There is work to be done. *rolling up sleeves*.

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