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Equality and Gender Featured

Jorge Burón, a Political Science student at UAM (Autonomous University of Madrid), shares his experience during the second talk of a four-part cycle on Rights, Freedom and Democracy, from the point of view of politics he will undertake for Afrikable’s women beneficiaries, as part of his internship in the area of women empowerment in Lamu.

"Yesterday we talked about gender equality and I don’t know if we understood each other. I don’t mean the language, which is also an obstacle because simultaneous translation does not always work perfectly. How can one mediate as an interpreter in a discussion with 20 people at the same time? It’s complicated, but even so we understand each other quite a bit. Besides, I think it’s better that way. Sometimes they look at me after saying something and they all laugh at the same time as if to say ‘Poor guy doesn’t understand anything we say’. No need to, right? What am I going to teach them about their lives? About their husbands? About men?.

It was during the times that we managed to have a fluid English-Swahili dialogue when we did not understand each other much: ‘What inequality? Of course we are different. So what? What is the problem? Everyone plays a role, fills its role, contributes with some things and receives others.’ What if it’s true? But sometimes, many times, it doesn’t seem to be true. If a woman gets a job, often the husband leaves his and dedicates himself to the contemplative life, why should he work if she does it? A man who does not find a woman, kidnaps one, rapes her for three days and lets her go. But, who’s going to want her now she has been defiled? So he asks for her hand and they marry her. If they get divorced, the husband disappears; forget about the financial aid, the woman and the children have to live as they can, and the State does not help much either so that the maintenance obligation is complied with.

Not all of them do this, not all of them are like that, but these stories are their testimonies. Some of them have experienced it, and many more outside Afrikable, and others will experience it. So life does not seem the same for everyone, and yet they don’t see it?

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Or maybe they don’t know what is it that they have to see. But unlike us, that think we know everything and actually we are just as blind as them or even more, they do listen, they do want to learn to look. They, these women, truly have an open mind, which does not mean knowing a lot of things as we think in our Western world, but wanting to learn lots of things. They really do have an open mind. Right before the end of the session, when it seemed like we weren’t going to find a point of connection, they saved the day again and said to me: ‘But let’s see, which are those rights we don’t have? What would the freedom we should have change? What’s with women’s rights? We don’t know them. Tell us about those rights, we want to know what they are, tell us about it and maybe we agree’. They are teaching me so much and I have so little to give them. But at least we have that, even though it’s hard, we manage to understand each other, because they have an open mind and they open mine.

So next week we will keep trying, this time we will talk about those rights they want to see but don’t know and those injustices they experience and that maybe one day can change for them, for their daughters, for their society. Disappear.


Author: Jorge Burón | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 751 times Last modified on Monday, 07 August 2017 14:39


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Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.


In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.


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