WOMEN SETTING NEW HEIGHTS
By: Zama Ngcoya
Mother, sister, aunt, daughter, and wife. These are, but a few words used to refer to a woman.
Another word that could be used to refer to the female race, which is occasionally used, is “Superwoman” because of what a woman can do.
Many years ago a patriarchal society existed in which the social order was organised, and run by men. The male race was at the core of it all and regarded as superior, while the female
race on the other hand, was submissive to the male.
Women were not stared as a very important part of society that was just competent to run a household, or take key decisions for themselves without the intervention of a man.
A woman who worked a nine-to-five job, drove a vehicle or headed a household, was unheard of.
Women spent their days in their homes doing chores such as cleaning, cooking, looking after the children and ensuring that their male counterparts were taken care of.
When it came to major roles such as providing for the family and decision making, men were never questioned.
In most cultures, having a girl child was regarded as a sign of wealth. From a young age, it was inculcated into the minds of young girls that when they were much older, they would
espouse into a wealthy family and generate income for their fathers through ilobolo.
On the other hand, having a son was seen as a blessing. The son was regarded as the father’s heir and would carry the family name for generations to come.
However over the years, women have proven to be just as capable of making a success of their lives with or without the presence of a male figure. Women such as Nkosazana Dlamini-
Zuma, the first female to head the African Union Commission and Mamphela Ramphele, former Managing Director of the World Bank and politician, have demonstrated that nothing
is impossible with hard work and determination.
Women in South Africa today have climbed up the ladder and are now occupying positions that were formally employed by men only.
Moniemang Selebano, a single parent and career woman, said that women have come a long way from the days when certain tasks were reserved for a particular gender.
“Long ago, it would have been difficult to make a name for myself in the world of work to head up a household on my own or enjoy the simple pleasures of driving a vehicle without a
man in my life to watch over everything. Men were regarded as the pillar and strength of every family. But now that is no more,” said Selebano.
She says women are equally capable of doing it themselves.
“There is no such thing as “I can’t. Women need to start believing in themselves more and appreciate the concept of independence. That way, they will be inspired to grab every
opportunity given to them and prosper in all things they do,” she added.
High school teacher, Zanele Masimula, says that parents play a major role in how society is shaped.
“What we teach our children from a young age is what they understand and project in society.
If we as parents can teach our girls that they are equal to men from a young age, they will be empowered and encouraged,” said Masimula.
Mbalenhle Zondo, a female metro cop says people need to accept the change in our society today.
“Gone are the days when the role of a woman was in the house. Society has changed a lot from how it was in the past. Although many men still have not accepted the idea of a female
being equal to them, it is a reality that is slowly but surely taking place. The sooner more people can realise that and accept it, we can all reach new heights,” says Zondo.