THE DANGER OF ARTIFICIAL AND SHALLOW EFFORT TOWARD WOMEN EMPOWERMENT IN SOUTH SUDAN.
By : Grace Akon Andrew Biar
I believe that being a woman has value when it come to women’s empowerment. We have the inside information that men could never have and that should be considered when we are advocating for policies that affects women. But this doesn’t mean that our position is not warranted to logical scrutiny, we can’t win this fights against injustice by only approaching from a personal point of view. The problem with the radical feminists is that they have single out an enemy, men. My opposition toward this approach is that, it’s alienates men who are fighting for gender equality outside there. This is why it’s critical that we examine our motives for joining the movement. If you were abused in a relationship or somehow discriminate against on the bases of your gender as a woman, that’s a starting point to fight for justice but cannot be about anger or vengeance. It should be about protecting other women so they don’t go through what you went through. We can’t afford to make it a solely personal, our mission is far gracious.
Change doesn’t operate in isolation. It is there important to factor in the cultural, legal and economical context to which we hope to bring change to. South Sudan is a fairly young country considering the 21 years of war and its unstable childhood after independent.
Because most of the country still function on customary law and culture in which girls are seen as a source of income in bride pride price, radical feminism could do more harm than good. Young girls in villages believe that their potential to help their families is tied to their bride price and because of this, they find honor in this system. This is why I think that they movement should start from the grass root with advocacy for basic nedds like educating girls, protection, advocating for laws against child/force marriages, etc. Educating women is a big part of equality, it creates rooms for information and financial independent for women. With resources, we should provide young girls and women in villages with hygiene essential needs like sanitary pants, soaps.
There is a reason why they women suffrage movement started with voting rights and economic independent, once you have women who have well-paying jobs, you have removed the incentive for them to stay in an abusive relationship. Financial dependency influences a lots of decision-making in a household and it skews the power balance in the favor of bread winners in the house. Tgis could be our first and maybe our most important mission.
Lastly, I think any equality movement cannot succeed by waging a war against another entity.
Women’s empowerment cannot be achieved by tearing down men. Its should also not be force by means of persuasion or otherwise on anyone. There is no positive outcome in preaching to young women in villages in the name of women empowerment, being a single mother is not honorable, let fix that home, let teach values That makes it possible for women to never have to leave their children. Let fights against domestic abuse but in doing this, let be cautious as not to dismiss the few allays we have. We are on the same team, it’s a question of how we approach the fight.