GENDER equality has always been a controversial subject, whether it is on a positive or negative note.
This subject does not go down well with most people as they feel it is exposing some hidden issues which may cause complications in their lives. Some argue that it is there to promote one side and ignoring the other or that it is there to discriminate against one side, while empowering the other.
For gender equality to be focused on, it was and is meant to concentrate on men and women, boys and girls, starting from their welfare, day to day living, opportunities, challenges, security, and rights among other aspects of life.
Yet it seems there are people who feel that gender equality is and may be destroying their peace, freedom, style, routine or habits.
What you tend to forget is that genderequality is very wide as it encompasses Gender Based Violence, domestic violence, equality, health, empowerment, human rights, politics, business, culture and the social aspect of life.
But not all aspects are fair and okay for everyone as people have their own different views, opinions and perceptions.
Some of the categories may be sensitive, intimidating, offensive, a bit challenging such that they will make someone get up on their feet or even hate the writer for writing some of the stuff. Hate it or love it, in life everyone has to face facts, whether they are hard or easy to swallow, at times we have to come face to face with reality.
If men are allowed to do some tasks which women can do e.g cooking, doing the dishes or changing the diapers, it does not mean that the man has to do it continuously and always while the woman sits down, folds her hands and watches.
Same with men, if a woman is able to do what is regarded as a man's task, it does not mean that she has to carry the burden alone while the man sits and watches trying to make some observations on the level of success and competence.
"Gender equality is there to promote and build both men and women, but due to cultural backgrounds, some cultures do not allow women to rise as we were sensitised not to be above men," said Precious Mutumwa.
"They stick to culture, for instance some cultures test women to find out if you are still a virgin, you are well groomed and fit enough to be called a well brought up woman, but you will find that despite that cultural background a man may tend to abuse you in other ways taking advantage of your decency,"she said.
"People especially us women, now take gender equality in a different way as most of us think that gender refers to women only, others they use other laws like the Gender Violence Domestic Act and take it as a tool to fight men."
Ms Mutumwa said at first men were left out when it came to gender equality because they thought gender was associated with women only and thought that all the laws were mainly and specifically for women without the knowledge that they are part of gender.
She added: "There are men who don't understand gender, they stamp authority and downsize women with violence so that they don't rise or get empowered. If you attempt to talk about gender unogona kutorohwa kana kutonzi unodakuziva maningi,just like when it comes to the issue of sexual reproductive health rights, if a woman tries to introduce the use of condoms to her husband she gets in trouble for it yet she will be trying to do what is best for them as a couple, and some men isolate themselves such that they don't know about gender or what gender equality is all about so when they hear about it, they get frustrated."
Gender equality implies and advocates that in the society women and men should be able to enjoy the same opportunities, outcomes, rights and obligations in all spheres of life.
There is nowhere or any place where there are restrictions or a sign which is written that "men only" except for the public toilets, cosmetics and clothes.
In other ways men and women are to reach a certain level together and share equally in the distribution of power and influence, have equal opportunities for financial independence through work or through setting up businesses, enjoy equal access to education and the opportunity to develop personal ambitions. A critical aspect of promoting gender equality is the empowerment of women, with a focus on identifying and redressing power imbalances and giving women more autonomy to manage their own lives.
This is so because men are already empowered, they have managed to reach certain high levels, have gained power and influence in their own right but when it comes to trying for the same opportunities for women it becomes an issue as some men think and assume that gender equality is opening the eyes of women at the same time making them to become stubborn and ignore their feminine values.
"Issues to do with gender, human rights and democracy are just mere western concepts meant to destabilise the African social fabric," said Mr Enock Musara referring to a scholar's quote.
"The majority of African laws and policies which are being put in place by most African governments under western sponsorship and pressure have been largely criticised as mere transfer or exchange of power relations from men to women," said Mr Musara.
He said criticism towards gender issues was being aggravated by the fact that most gender organisations and programmes implemented were being run by single women.
"In other words, gender programmes are western prescriptions for African problems, yet we forget that we differ from culture, economy and values etc. We just embrace western gender perspective without critically analyzing its origins, purpose and the impact that it has in our lives as Africans," he said.
As Africans we do have our values, norms and cultural beliefs which have sustained us for a very long time without mentioning gender.
So does gender equality really destroy relationships or it is building people for the development of the nation?
Sometimes your articles are a bit too sexist, don't you think so?-Bucky.
The issue of infidelity, who really gets to pay for it, men or women? One thing for sure is that the same judgment cannot be passed to both men and women and at the same time it seems difficult to let one party pay and leave the other scot-free.- Anonymous.
Mandy, my dear sister, husbands and wives can be equal in some areas, but not all of them. Just be real. Some old boundaries can never be moved even if you change 100 governments in centuries to come. The moment when the two weds, then the man changes his surname to that of his wife by then it will be possible to let it go for a wife who has gone out of wedlock. Life is and will never be fair in this situation because even in the Holy Bible or Holy Quran, No wife has ever married more than one husband and was blessed to having even grandchildren. Tell me only one lady you know from over three billion ladies you have heard off.-Ndax
I like the way you addressed the gender issue. Continue teaching us about those matters because they are important to us. I would be grateful if you can keep me posted.-Pardon Masaiti.
You are saying we (men) cannot keep our hands to ourselves, kubvamatidaro here shuwa?- 0713 166 521.
Mandy's column on gender issues in The Manica Post has gone a long way in capacitating society on issues of gender. People have been empowered in one way or the other minimizing gender violence and eradicating the misconception that issues of gender are about women only.-0772 479 726.
I enjoy reading your gender column; you are expanding the issues week by week, keep up the good work.-Happiness Gariremo.
May you please give us some day to day stories and experiences of people who are victims of Gender based violence among some of your other topics, like a one on one interview with victims who are willing to share their experiences.-0775 904 119.— firstname.lastname@example.org or sms 0776 467 795.