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And some love to those who have already done it!
The International Women’s Day was celebrated yesterday on March 8 for the 102nd time globally and 37th time in Ethiopia. Everybody knows of this day including myself but I have to admit I never really did any reading on how the whole thing started.
So as history goes, on March 8th 1857, women working in clothing and textile factories in New York, (United States of America) staged a protest. The protest was a way for them to fight against the inhumane conditions and low wages.
The police attacked the protestors and dispersed them. Two years later in the month of March, these women formed their first labor union to protect themselves and to get some of their basic rights be respected in the workplace.
A series of other similar happenings took place all over the world through out the years, women protested and fought. Then, after all that, they were given some basic rights, and a day out of the year where they could celebrate their accomplishment.
So now here we are, women, having equal rights as men (on paper at least), and yet, the challenge of proving we are indeed equal is still an everyday reality.
I was recently outraged as I read Uganda’s ‘anti pornography’ bill that was passed into a law. According to the ‘law’, women are banned from wear reveling clothes (dresses that are above the knee or cleavage showing tops) as it claims those kinds of attires make the men uncomfortable or excite them sexually and resort to rape.
According to quotations from news reports, decision makers stood completely in agreement with the passed law and some said women who do not abide by the law should go to jail.
After following reports on the issue, I came to two conclusions. One is that unbelievably idiotic men can be selected to run something as big as a country and two that gender equality is something that will not be attained, not for generations to come.
It has been over a hundred years since women took a stand for their rights but unfortunately, the idea of male superiority seems to still be burned in the minds of men that even in the 21st century; they still want to control how women dress.
So now, in Uganda, if a woman is found wearing the so called ‘banned’ clothes and a man sexually harasses her or rapes her, it will be her fault. I mean after all, by reveling her legs or showing cleavage, she automatically brought the horrific acts upon herself, right?
Right here in our city, Addis Ababa, almost all women I know go through some sort of harassment by men on a daily basis, usually pathetic and absolutely useless words thrown at them that clearly show the harasser’s brain capacity.
I truly look forward to a day where a random man on the streets doesn’t throw ridiculous comments at me which are irritating and make him look like an absolute moron.
Right now, in this ‘civilized’ society we live in, something as simple as going to a bar alone for a sip of beer after work is damn near impossible because apparently a women drinking by her self means she is there to sell her body for money. All these examples are the tip of the iceberg.
With all the problems, I have to recognize also that not all men are idiots. And I would really like to pass a well deserved thanks to them.
There are those men who have fought and continue to fight for women, for equality and all that it comes down to, which is fighting for humanity and common sense. Those men should be celebrated for being, well, what they are supposed to be in the first place, normally functioning human beings.
Yes, in the world we live in, apparently that is a huge achievement.