Humanity has unknowingly created a maximum prison. A dark and scary place guarded by fear, injustice and inequality. Recruiting or incarcerating young boys and girls into this prison has become a daily routine. What crime have they committed, one would wonder. The likely responses you may receive could include, “Being Born”, “Being Alive”, “Breathing” or simply, “Being African” and my personal favourite, “Why fix what’s not broken!”
Gender equality is the state in which access to rights or opportunities is unaffected by gender. Despite the legal commitment to gender equality at the international, regional and national levels, women and girls in Africa continue to face a myriad of challenges in the political, social and economic spheres as a consequence of gender inequalities and imbalances. Gender equality is not only limited to the girl child but the boy child also faces similar challenges as well, as it is still seen as queer for a male to be in the fashion or beauty industries and if I’m to go to the extremes, even in the kitchen!
Rules, boundaries, constrictions, do’s and don’ts are meticulously set out well before a child is even conceived. Prejudiced views and opinions are engraved in innocent minds when they are still very young, that it is almost impossible to reverse them. Escaping from this type of mind-set is unheard of and breaking out of it is almost a taboo! Brick by brick we are all contributing in some way to building the maximum prison of gender inequality. Unless we take a stand. It. Is. Time!
The kitchen is your place she is told, growing up. Dishes, pots and pans are your friends, embrace them. Wake up early before sunrise, sweep the house spotless and cook for your family. Don’t ever forget it!
The garden is your place he is told, growing up. Shovels, screw drivers and spades are your friends, embrace them. Go to work, provide for your family and protect them from danger at all costs. Don’t ever forget it!
The above scenario worked well in the past but things have since changed. We need to move with the times and adjust our mind-sets to adapt to this fast and changing world.
We can have female pilots, male midwives, female electricians, male nurses, and female mechanics the list is endless. Let’s remove all the barriers and restrictions and stereotyping. We are all equal and as such we should all have the same opportunities in the political, social and economic spheres.
No double standards. No unnecessary and unfair special treatments should be given to anyone. We all breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Let’s learn to live together, accommodate one another, tolerate one another and above all love one another. Let’s destroy these maximum prisons and in the words of Bob Marley “Let’s get together and feel alright!”
By : Hannah Chaza