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How Do We Embrace Equity?

Finding solutions to problems that cripple women.

BY Pauline Katethya

Mar 06, 2023, 09:13 AM

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Since time immemorial our conversations as women have revolved around the need for inclusivity and equity because, for a long time now, this has been a man’s world. Being a woman has always felt like a disorder, a disease, a sin. You are already disadvantaged in many ways when you are a woman. 

This means you must work harder and prove yourself at every opportunity you get even though you are as good as your male counterparts. You have to rise above all the other things that are meant to cripple you as a woman from periods, and sexual violations to domestic violence. Being a woman is a lot of work. It’s a never-ending battle. 

From encouraging women to take leadership positions to promote paid parental leave and providing support for working mothers, here are ways we can create a more just and equal world for women. 

Closing The Gender Pay Gap. 

It is incomprehensible that a man can still earn more while you are doing the same job. Is this because maybe our brains are smaller or we don't have the muscles for the job? For a long time now, this has been a major issue in the corporate world. 

Some organizations have worked towards closing the gender pay gap but others are still exploiting women. There should be transparency in workplaces and bosses advocating for equal pay because for how long will a woman continue to suffer? 

It’s quite unfortunate that sometimes it’s women in higher positions who will try and bring down other women. While we are battling this, it’s important to support each other. We cannot win if we are each other’s enemies. And while we might be a long way in closing this gap, we cannot afford to give up along the way. 

Adopting Menstrual Leave.

Last month, Spain became the first country to approve a paid menstrual leave allowing women to take 3 or 5 days of leave depending on the severity of the cramps. When I heard this, I couldn’t help but be happy for the women in Spain. This is a progressive step, a light at the end of the tunnel. 

For so long, menstruation has been linked to shame. Society has made us feel small and worthless for going through a normal biological phase. Periods can be extremely painful and uncomfortable and having laws like these make it easier for a woman to deal with her pain without dying trying to impress her boss.

More countries should implement this and make working environments more comfortable and safer for women. This way, we will feel heard and seen. There are men who don’t see why menstruating is such a big deal or why it should be a national conversation, but it’ll be a relief for people who suffer from conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). 

Addressing Gender-Based Violence Issues. 

There are many governmental and non-governmental organizations fighting gender-based related issues including domestic violence, sexual assault, and female genital mutilation. But despite this, so many women continue to suffer and even die at the hands of violent men who get away with murder. 

The government must work aggressively towards giving a woman a safe environment. The anxiety we get when we hear footsteps behind us at night on our way home is overwhelming. Getting home safely is never a guarantee.

Similarly, when a woman is sexually violated, people don’t point fingers at the abuser, they blame the victim. One of the first questions asked is, how was she dressed? As if her dressing was an invitation for the man to abuse her. 

It’s about time, the government imposed laws that hold perpetrators accountable for this heinous act. It should also promote education and awareness in communities that still practice FGM. Young girls should be protected at all costs and those who practice it should as well face the law. It should also provide support and resources for survivors. 

While the government does its part, men should take part in this conversation. It’s their daughters, their mothers, friends, and sisters who suffer. They shouldn’t turn a blind eye or be silent because either way, it affects us all. 

Work On Ending Period Stigma.

Less than two weeks ago, a Kenyan Member of Parliament made some sly remarks about a woman’s nomination linking it to her period. His remarks were quite careless and inconsiderate. It’s unfortunate that we still experience period shaming in the 21st century. 

It is not a crime to menstruate but a better part of the world feels like women are incompetent because of their periods. Menstruation is not a disorder, it is normal, so why should the world make us feel bad about it? I believe there should be laws regarding period stigmatization and any man who attacks a woman based on this should face legal action.

It's unfortunate that some of these men who almost convulse on hearing the word period are men with daughters. Men who have married women, women who have periods. It’s high time men started changing their views on this natural phenomenon.

Similarly, the government should work towards making hygiene and sanitary products free or cheaper because why should having a uterus be so damn expensive? Schoolgoing kids should at least have pads at their convenience. Condoms should not be given for free yet sanitary towels, are not.