AFRICAN Freedom Day should mark the end to women having their value placed in what they can do in bed, says Joseph Moyo.
And Moyo, who is the founder of the African Woman Foundation (TAWF), says the gaining of Africa’s freedom from colonial masters led to a new form of dominance of man against woman on the continent.
In an interview, Moyo said African women only sing their national anthems out of loyalty and not because they are free.
“In Africa, a man can cheat on a woman, he can have children outside marriage, but for a woman the African society calls her names if she was to do the same. Africa is free from colonial rule, but for a woman, what does African Freedom Day really mean? Is an African woman free? The answer is no, so the celebration of African Freedom Day is only for men. We are free as African men but another gender is being dominated by another. Man continues to dominate a woman,” he said.
“Boardrooms are filled by men, commerce and industry are dominated by men, the business playing field favours a man. How can a woman sing her national anthem saying: ‘Stand and sing proud and free or Nkosi Sikelele Africa’ when she is not free? So as we celebrate African Freedom Day, it should mark an end to men placing value in what women can do in bed, but what they can do in a boardroom. Girls should not be raised on how they should be good wives but should be educated. Let’s fight this gender hostage that African women are in, let’s give them equal opportunities and let them be educated so as to be free to decide when they want to have children,” Moyo said.
He said Africa should give women the pride that they need to sing their national anthems with pride.
Moyo said political corridors should never be dominated by men because women also played a vital role in raising up children when their fathers were incarcerated by colonial masters.
“The best examples are late Mama Betty Kaunda and Winnie Mandela; they endured pain as their husbands, KK and Madiba, suffered in cells,” he said.
Moyo said in Africa today women cannot easily decide what to wear or where to go.
He said many women were employed not because of they were qualified but because they had to offer sex to a man.
“We as TAWF call on African men to give an African woman the same dignity and opportunities as a man…women will only be free if they can walk without being at risk of being raped and also be free to decide on how many children she wants to have and not to have her value being placed in sex or child bearing but what she can do when given a chance to be educated,” Moyo said.
Meanwhile, Moyo said many women continue living their lives in indignity due to lack of menstrual hygiene facilities.
He said he was still disturbed that condoms were distributed freely while menstrual pads or towels were not.
“Menstrual hygiene should not be the preserve of few women…I have noted that many governments and organisations in Africa continue to promote condoms and distribute them freely not for hygiene purposes but for sexual pleasures of two parties…but yet products meant for menstrual occurrences that are not by choice but nature are not aided. Condoms and sex are not about human dignity but pleasure which those who whish can refrain from. But looking around, our women continue to live in indignity due to lack of menstrual pads and towels,” Moyo lamented.
He said governments care less about what women use during their menstruation as most opt to use dirty cloths and yet governments distribute condoms for free.
“I have come to women who said they have to scavange for pieces of cloths to make menstrual towels. Governments need to care for poor women and girls’ menstrual hygiene, they must care to ensure that all women regardless of their economic status at least should go through menstrual cycles with dignity,” Moyo said.
He added that women have no pride in menstruation because for some, it was an arrival of an indignity.
Moyo added that parents must also get involved in knowing what their daughters use during menstruation.
He said menstrual pads and towels should also be made available by employers to their female workers in places of work.
Moyo added that TAWF would always advocate for the placement of value on women on what they can do once educated and given equal opportunities.