"Exhibiting You" - Story

Are Men Intimidated?

Is it a Battle of the Sexes?

By: winfridah chilyobwe mcekeni
Submitted: 10/15/2008

The way up to the top job of leadership hasn't been as easy as their male counterparts; women not only have to contend and debate on their political stand, on civil or international affairs, but they also have to break the mind barriers of gender stereotyping.

Taking a close look at campaign trail--women are always in the forefront supporting their partners, but few men are out there to give the same moral support to their wives. Bill Clinton and a few others are an exception.

Women like the late Indira Ghandi of India and the late Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, who have both been assassinated, did not only die because they were a political opposition, but because they broke through the same fears governing hearts and minds. Aung San Su Kyi, leader of the opposition in Burma has been held on house arrest since 1989.

There are also numerous analytical views that arise if a woman is running for any political or a big corporate position. At the top of the list are doubts that men will vote based on the gender of the candidate and not on credentials.

The question is, are men intimidated by the women in power? Is there another reason not known to woman? Before, it was an undermining statement: "Who is wearing trousers?" But now, a woman has a tailored three piece suit. Now women are asking: "Does a woman need a political mustache or muscles to get a man's vote?"

In 2008, I asked men of different backgrounds their personal views on women in power. Intimidated or not, men have come a long way. They have learned to accept women in power and are ready to give their vote and recognition without reservations.

Mr. Grimes of Towaco, New Jersey cited the progress and contributions women have made to politics in this century. He mentioned the Liberian president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first African woman president of a nation-state--how she has championed the cause of reconstructing Liberia after the bloody wars that the country had been in for years.

Nick, of Lincoln park Abundant Life Church in New Jersey, also a Viet Nam War veteran, talked of how happy he is seeing women rise to high positions in politics. But, he also did not approve of women in uniform going into combat. He defended his views that, "If a man is injured in war, women are not built to carry a man--it will be strenuous to go the whole way with an injured colleague on the shoulder."

Coming from Africa where women are making progress in strides, I was impressed with the expressional acceptance of women on the political stage. But I am now disappointed to see women's degradation and the other women standing on the sidelines watching the onslaught of Sarah Palin just because they do not agree with her politically.

The attacks are not limited to her views; they are now making a pornography video of her. This will be a sure cause for women to rise and protest to protect the struggle for women's rights and respect rather than watch a century hard work for women's advocacy go in the ditch.

Our sons are watching and how are they going to learn that respect for a woman is a right and not a privilege that is given only if they agree with you? Our daughters too are watching and maybe laughing along with us--but what has happened to our call for a stop on sexism and how are they going to learn that they are not just good for sex? All women have ever wanted is equal humane treatment in the world.

It is time to rise and put politics aside and protect a century's hard work which our mothers started and that we can pass on too. The banners cannot only be raised if we agree, and the torch does not go off if one is politically incorrect or correct, rich or poor, literate or illiterate.

Keep the banner even higher and let the passion within burn even more, so we can achieve the cause for all women in the world. The whole world is watching America. If you lower your torch, you blow out every flame of hope held by the rest of the world's women--and we will all curl up in defeat.

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