August 19, 2018

Women, Power and Free Things


By Vera Marion

If there is anyone who is celebrated the world over, then it has got to be the woman. The she is revered. The she is adored. The she is glorified. The she is loved. She knows all these and so doesn’t shy away in proving her worth to the society.

Laudable indeed, until the issue of gender parity, or is it disparity, sets in. The debate of whether women should be given special seats has been raging on for a while now. This is a fight that the women are going to fight tooth and nail to make sure that it stays as it is in the constitution: that 1/3 of seats to be for women.

The big question then would be, should the women be given the special seats or should they fight it out just like every other? Will it make it easier for them if they are given what they want on a silver platter? No. As a matter of fact things will be quite hard for them. The seat is like being given a freebie and free things are never of quality.

In this debate we are trying to play the victim, yet it doesn’t help us in any way. What happened to the women empowerment conferences that women have attended? Conferences that stress their importance and how they can do anything that they want to. What happened to the all famous slogan that ‘what a man can do, a woman can do better’? With the tenacity that we had for fighting for our rights, we now want to appear weaklings by extending our hands for free seats. The two do not merge; power and weakness. And this is what we are trying to portray as women. If the women want what the men have, then they have to fight for it regardless of whether the playing field is level or not.

Nothing ever comes easy. The likes of Martha Karua and the late Wangari Maathai, did not make a name for themselves because they were given anything on a silver platter. They fought for what they believed was worth it. They fought for themselves because they believed in themselves. We can never prove how worthy we are if we are given these seats. We will never be taken seriously if all we want is to have something set aside for us as ‘ours’ nor will respect be adequately accorded to us. Given that our society is patriarchal and the man is given precedent over the woman, we can never overcome this issue if all we want are ‘special’ everything. We need to fight and prove to the ‘man’ society that we can be as aggressive as them.

As women we need to stand up and fight. Not fight for free things, but fight for things that will transcends the sands of time. Fight for issues that will be part of our history, talked over by generations to come. Life is never a smooth journey. There are ups and downs, mountains and valleys. All these we need to conquer and they can’t be conquered if we sit put and wait for somebody to help us go through these challenges. We need to find solutions that we alone have come up with that will help us go up the valley and round the mountains.

The valleys and the mountains that the likes of Martha Karua and the late Wangari Maathai went through molded and shaped them to who they were. We can never be molded and shaped if we sit and wait for something to be given to us for free. Woman, stand up and fight and don’t fight for free things for they are not worth it.

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