Tag Archives: women and politics

Belated: (Women-related) Sunday Reads

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On prominent women: let’s stick to the issues please!

I recently read a “friend’s” status update on Facebook in vernacular, that translated simply states “Bensouda, go and get married, Uhuru is ours!”

A bit of context, the current Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta is facing charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for his involvement in the Post-Election Violence in 2007 that resulted in the loss of approximately 1,300 lives and the displacement of thousands more.  Despite this, he went on to run and win the presidency in the March 2013 Elections. (That is beside the point for this post) Bensouda leads the Prosecution in Uhuru’s case.

I remember in my intern days attending a civil society talk in the lead up to the 2007 elections and that days talk centred around understanding the low number of women in politics and attempting to reverse that trend. A lady that had successfully vied as MP in one of the rural constituencies when asked to offer advice to upcoming ladies said to them that they should always wear a skirt or a dress on the campaign trail and under, to always have a pair of close fitting shorts. Why? Because when defeated, men tended to charge towards her and attempt to humiliate her by stripping her of her clothes and in her nudity, strip her of dignity thus ensuring votes for the male opponent.

What do the two situations have in common? The fact that almost always (and forgive me, this is hyperbole at its’ worst) Kenyan men when defeated in a political argument or wishing to make a point against women will tend to bring up her marital status or the fact that she is childless or something about her appearance in judgment of her character and more often than not, will not do the same for a man that is obviously lacking in similar character. This is double-standards and reveals small mindedness at its worst. So what if she is childless, divorced and not “feminine”? Do we care more or less if he is single, not a father and “not masculine”, probably yes but most likely not!!

So no, Bensouda’s interest in Uhuru is purely legal and, NOT THAT IT MATTERS, she is married and has kids of her own so she is not interested in being a second wife. So please let’s not conflate matters and set aside non-issues.