It is a tribute to womens strength, intuition and unsung leadership that so many families are held together in the difficult economic and social circumstances we are all going through, says the writer. File photo: Siphiwe Sibeko

Men may be financially wealthier and occupy more office space, but they seem second rate in other terms, says Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya.

Pretoria - A female relative startled me last weekend when she announced that she was glad we had come to the end of Women’s Month. She added how hard being a woman really is and hoped that if reincarnation was true, she would want to return as a man.

Men have it easier, she said. They generally earn more, do less at home even if both partners have full-time jobs and do not have to deal with other emotional dramas of life.

Though I agree with her on these points, I believe they show that it is actually men, not women, who need true empowering. Women need opportunities to showcase what they can bring to the world. Men need more empowerment and less office.

Men might be wealthier in financial terms and occupy more office space, but they seem second rate in other terms that give humans the right to assume to be the most evolved of species.

It is men who are chopping the heads of those of different faiths, using violence against other motorists simply because they were in the wrong lane or something equally ridiculous. Why would women aspire to be like that?

Women have already achieved much with much less whereas men have become less while achieving more and ever climbing higher up the social ladder.

It is interesting to note the dire socio-economic circumstances explained for why young black males in particular choose the path of crime and violence, are not taken up as options by the young women exposed to exactly the same set of social circumstances.

The willingness of young women to take up those jobs that equally impoverished brothers see as beneath them of cleaning up toilets, picking up dirty underwear in middle and upper class homes while young men resort to drugs and crime to deal with the meaninglessness of their lives, is something to celebrate of the woman.

Why would anyone who claims to be naturally the stronger or worthy of leadership need to depend on their wealth; need to beat up and physically pin down women and rape them or feel that their true essence and impact in the world depends on how much money they can throw around?

There can be no real power in those who once they are afforded influence, exercise this authority by seeking to render those with a different set of body parts inferior to them and go to great lengths to keep them marginalised?

Many South African households are led by women, sometimes by mere girls. It is far more likely for a man who has lost his job, who no longer has a source of income to feel emasculated and shrink away from his responsibilities than it is for a mother.

Women have long understood that their role in the lives of their children and their families goes beyond being a human ATM. They have understood that being a parent or a life partner is so much more than what money can buy.

It is a tribute to women’s strength, intuition and unsung leadership that so many families are held together in the difficult economic and social circumstances we are all going through.

Unlike men, women do not often use children and others weaker than themselves to deal with the frustrations that life throws at them. In the unhappy instances that it happens, women tend to kill their own children rather than opt for a neighbour or a relatives’ when the inexplicable urge to commit murder so one can cope with own demons, becomes too overwhelming.

I have written on these pages before that naming the August 9 Gender Justice Day (or words to that effect) could go a long way towards making everyone reflect on how far we have come in fighting sexist attitude at a personal and societal level. I wonder if men have ever asked themselves how they would have coped if the gender injustice shoe was on the other foot and it was matriarchy that was dominant.

I wish my relative would not just focus on how much men get away with but appreciate just how women can teach men that one can be truly and fully human and to make the most of our resources without having to resort to violence, depend on rank and wealth and marginalising others.

* Fikile-Ntsikelelo Moya is executive editor of the Pretoria News.

Pretoria News