Since the beginning of time, women have generally had the short end of the stick when it came to career advancement, societal privilege, and education. Like the women of ’56 said, “Wathinta abafazi, wathinta imbokodo.” Women fought then,  and are still fighting for what they rightfully deserve –  a fair and just society that allows them to be who they want to be without boxing them or beating them for it. 

Wouldn’t a society where women didn’t have to fight be a wonderful one? It would be; but unfortunately, we are here now. The fight against patriarchy shouldn’t be exclusively left to women. For this fight to be won, men must join in too.

Did you know what men can and have done to aid in the fight against patriarchy?

Men can join in the fight in many ways, including as allies, advocates, and by running educational programmes for young men. Start where you are with what you have; like Luyolo Lengisi and Siyabonga Khusela, who at the age of 21 in 2019 started Langa For Men. Langa for Men’s vision is to create a safe space for every gender and also involve everyone in the fight for women and young girls. They want to reprogramme the minds of men and invest in a young boy child using different methods and projects; such as Boys to Men, Youth Empowerment sessions, Educational Camps, Hiking, Healing sessions, Boys Workshops

Men in higher places of influence can do more than – and some have done –  just speeches and hashtags. The current Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau has an equal cabinet of 50% men and 50% women. The cabinet according to him, is a cabinet that looks like Canada. 

In some ways South Africa has majorly progressed since 1956:  according to StatsSA; today, South Africa’s progressive laws have seen more women serving in high-ranking positions in government than ever before. Access to education by young girls and women has improved substantially over time. Recent statistics have shown a balance in gender parity ratios (GPR) amongst those who are functionally literate from 0,95 in 2002, to 0,99 (zero – no gender equality, to one – full gender equality) in 2019; this proves that more women are now literate. 

This isn’t credited to men; women have fought for their rights, but a few men who have recognized the need to join in, in this important fight, have played a role. More men need to join practically in building an equal future for all.

The fight for a patriarchy-free society doesn’t only help women, but men too. One of the many reasons the suicide rate of men is higher than women is because of the unrealistic pressures put on men by men to uphold patriarchal values. A patriarchy-free society would lessens expectations for  any gender, and allow greater room for  people to be who they are, it also contributes to creating a gender-based violence free society. According to Safer Spaces,  GBV is more prevalent in societies where there is a culture of violence, and where male superiority is treated as the norm.

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