Sunday, May 22, 2011

Women must vote if they want to see change

(Originally published in Guyana’s Kaieteur News on 22 May 2011)

In a world where the female population often outnumbers the male population, it is an immense travesty of the human race that “men rule the world.” In Guyana, where the female population has taken a nose dive in the last decade, the aforementioned travesty becomes a crime against women.

It is my opinion that as long as men alone roam the corridors of power, women will continue to live their lives as second rate citizens, as beating posts for the men and as the lower wage earners.

There are umpteen other demeaning and degrading roles that women are forced to play to entertain men and to feed the male ego, all of which relegate women to a subservient status. It is a disgrace. It is unjust. And it is because women do not vote.

For far too long, women had no voice in the home, in religion or in the matters of politics. The very fact that I am writing this column is proof that this is no longer the case. However, though women may have the opportunity to have a voice, it does us no good at all if we do not use that voice.

It is not good enough just to know that if we wanted to speak up, we could. We must speak up if we desire genuine change for our gender. We shake our heads when the neighbour beats his wife. We want to do something, but we are afraid of the same beating. We must vote if we want to see change.

We know very well that the man who was hired to do the same job is being paid more just because he is a man, but if we demand equal wage we could lose our job. We must vote if we want to see change.
We bear the progeny of the human race and are denied maternity leave because it is a man who runs the company and a man who made the laws and a man who enforces the law. We must vote if we want to see change.

Our daughters are raped by men who care little about the psychological and physical impact it will have on the girl – sometimes these men are even related to the girl. Then they want to pay the girl off, as if she were a prostitute instead of an innocent soul. We must vote if we want to see change.

The religions of this world are run by men. The finances of this world are run by men. The businesses of this world are run by men. The courts of this world are run by men. The legislative bodies of this world are run by men. The countries of this world are run by men. We must vote if we want to see change.

Where does this leave women? Take a good look around and see. Look at your mother, your sister, your neighbour, your co-worker. Is she valued by her spouse, her boss, the police, the judge, the minister of government or the president of the country? We all know very well that too often she is not. We must vote if we want to see change.

To accept this bleak situation as our future is the same as bowing in submission to the male rulers who want to keep us subservient. Not all men fit this role, but it is obvious that if the male rulers of this world were looking out for the best interest of women that life would be far better for us than it is right now.

If we want to change our situation, it is vital to vote. Do your research and vote for the candidate who best represents women and the issues most vital to us. If a candidate has not taken a public stance on women’s issues, it means that candidate has no regard for the topic. Do not vote for such a candidate.

Register to vote, ladies. Take your sister, mother, grandma, aunties and all your girlfriends with you when you register. And vote. When you do vote, do not vote based on race. Do not vote for a candidate because she/he is in the party your parents and grandparents supported.

Do not vote based on the fear-mongering tactics of politicians. Don’t play into their twisted game. Don’t let them mess with your head. Be smarter than that. Vote for the candidate who is going to best represent you as a woman in Guyana.

Find the energy you need to take a stand for yourself in this election season. Do not allow apathy to decide the future for Guyana’s women. The women of Guyana should decide their own future and it starts by voting.

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