Motherhood’s burden of responsibility
WOMEN’S emancipation has been at the forefront of concern since the dawn of our democracy.
Our leaders are determined to redress past injustices committed against women, and in theory and on paper, our government’s effort to address gender equality is admirable – if only it translated practically.
Our government has come up with great initiatives to rehabilitate men to shift their mindset of viewing women as objects, and to fight gender-based violence.
We have many programmes in place to teach men how to be good and acceptable in society, but none are there to teach our women.
History has proved that a human soul that has been oppressed for a significant amount of time and ripped off its dignity will always be the first to oppress and abuse those it views as easy targets.
The inhuman conditions which black men still live under today, together with religious beliefs which promote patriarchy, are some of the reasons why we live in a world of fear when we raise our girl child.
But as women and as a society we cannot sit and vilify men and sanctify women, as that would be an injustice.
It appears there are some women who confused having rights with abandoning one’s responsibility.
In 2018 there have been two significant cases reported where mothers caused harm to their kids.
Earlier this year, a woman received a prison sentence for protecting her daughter’s rapist. Just last month, four children were reported to have died in a shack fire in Alexandra township.
They had been left with their teenage sibling while the mother was at a local tavern. So perhaps, along with movements that teach men to be good, we should not leave the women behind.
As Africans we come from a history where family values came before anything else. Each and every person in the family had their own contribution to building a cohesive environment, and women were indeed at the forefront of creating a warm and loving home.
The number of initiatives directed at empowering the girl child economically are laudable, but when those initiatives leave the boy child behind, one worries if we are raising girls who will be powerful women with no male companions.
The same sentiments should be shared when there are initiatives and programmes which groom men to be good fathers and good husbands, but none are there to teach women to be good wives and mothers.
Recent events of children being thrown in dustbins and toilets or women failing to provide for children’s needs proves that motherhood does not come naturally.
In the urban setting there is no village to help you, and it is time women understood the responsibility of being a mother in modern South Africa before we decide on becoming mothers.