Selebalo Monyane – Lesotho

Selebalo Monyane – Lesotho

Date: June 30, 2015
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I cannot remember when I first met Gender Links (GL) but I know it was a long time ago. GL has really helped me in my work through the various training I attended. I am now able to teach gender issues because of the understanding I received through GL. The 50/50 theme struck me. I wanted to know what 50/50 was all about. GL taught me that 50/50 did not mean that women should be above men or below men, but that there should be equality.

You find that women bear the biggest burden for work; for example, they carry water from the dongas, and have to do domestic work even when pregnant. I teach people that when a woman is pregnant, a man should know that he is pregnant too. The man should take care of his wife so that she is relaxed and able to deliver the baby safely. Even after delivery, the man should help to take care of the baby, including washing nappies.

At the organisation where I work, I teach everyone that boys and girls are all human beings; gifts from God who should be treated equally. I try to tell people that girls are not to be raped. We also train peer educators who go and teach other young people in the community. Older people teach other older people. We believe that if people of the same generation teach each other, they have a better chance of being able to better understand each other.

I am also involved in teaching women to be independent; for example, that they should produce food for themselves. Women were not allowed to have their own land, but I have worked with my organisation to ensure that women have their own land, and can go to the bank. I have also encouraged women to speak out, especially if they are being oppressed. Women are not punching bags. I have noticed that women used to be afraid of going to the bank and even voting during an election. We have told them that if they do not go and vote during an election, the men will vote for them. You have a right to make men hear you. I believe that men are not above women, nor are women above men; we must be 50/50.

In all this, I have seen attitudes change at both the individual and community level. There were women who, for example, did not want their children to be vaccinated, but now they are taking their children for vaccination. The number of women in decision making positions in local government has also increased tremendously. In my village, eight out of 12 local government members are women. This means that women have a majority in the local government council, which is commendable.

I intend to encourage more people to attend trainings, so that they are aware of gender equality. I also plan to continue playing an instrumental role in ensuring that more women take up big positions. Women are sometimes afraid of big positions, but it makes me proud to see female ministers.


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