On her recent visit to Kenya, secretary of state Hilary Clinton exhorted the government to empower women. She probably had the idea of putting more women in positions of leadership.
This is quite a harmless statement, especially considering the fact that it’s the conventional ‘done thing’. I mean, it’s every other Tom, Dick and Wanjiku‘s ‘line’ on gender equality.
However, coming from her, the statement is actually an ADMISSION of how ingrained in the humanity’s psyche the idea of women as inherently weak is! Men, women and children (as individuals or as institutions and even governments) take this state of gender affair as axiomatic. In some cases, even animals such as cows will take no orders from women!
Given the foregoing, every gender equality discourse starts off on the premise that women can’t rather than won’t. The only route such debate can head is down begging- pleading- acquiesce- street! The gender activists beg, get down on their knees, plead, grovel, and wait for men and the society in general to volunteer to cede some crumb of empowerment to women. They will wait until the cows come home; it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever happening!
The gender equality battle will only be won if we get over this mindset. Let’s take Hillary Clinton’s case. Supposing she had waited for the government to empower her. Where would she be now (after all dont we know of many former first ladies who end up not amounting to much politically)? So we cannot use her having been a first lady as an excuse. We may also look at similar scenarios in Liberia‘s president, Sirleaf Johnson or the case of the late Aquino of Philippines.
Clinton seems not to have internalized Obama’s mantra: “Yes we can!” In our addresses let’s leave the government alone: Let’s urge ladies to get off their backsides and go get it! Let’s teach our girl child that it’s not that they can’t but wont!