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08/03/2022 00:10 AM
ኣብ ቅድመይ ኣይትጽናሕ እንተ በለትካ፡ ተኣለ! Every Day is Eritrean Women Day!
Behind each strong woman stand the opportunities life denied us! Women day is every day!
Today, I am blessed to express my beliefs about Eritrean women and the struggle for equality. I am a proud Eritrean woman.
The following are my honest - critical at times - but pride filled thoughts about reaching equality for women’s rights in Eritrea.
We learned from our mothers the compromises to search for solutions and to believe in healing. So often, healing was for all of us-mothers and daughters - a desperate agonizing process, in which we blended hope and the possibility of failure! And once we reached the age of understanding the humiliation of foreign occupation, we owned the unwavering belief that unity was our only way out and girls could match boys in taking up the fight for freedom.
Our female Veterans and our mothers taking a role in the fight, made all - dare I say finally - believe that nothing was unattainable for a woman!
Dedicating our life to helping others overtook good grades at school. Eritrean women paid a tremendous amount of sacrifices, but their self-control and determination became the sole reason they were able to maintain a balance between all the roles they took over. Whether they were holding a weapon in the fields, protecting families in the cities, cooking for needy Eritreans in refugee camps, shielding passers by from flying Ethiopian bullets in the streets...they could handle it all ! With courage, grace and a smile ! The lack of fear in us, defeated the enemy.
To be strategic can make a woman think one step ahead. That will make her stand out from the rest. The “ rest” being societies that want us to walk steps behind men!
Each of us was expected to complement men around us: a husband, a brother, a father….. the moment we will understand that we actually need to complement the abused woman, the illiterate woman, the women that swallow their tears so to advance their daughter’s rights, that will be the moment we call victory and walk towards equality!
No, I am not promoting to “ignore” love for husband, for a lover, for father. I promote existence and rights for women on equal stand!
Looking and hearing testimonies about Eritrean women in refugees camps, we can identify ! Somehow, each of us has lived that horror of becoming landless and country less overnight!
The regime holding power back home, might call us “economic refugees”, but we are political refugees. We are financial refugees. We are education less refugees and basic rights-less individuals. For, all was denied to us and a majority expected us to be ONLY “ a complement “ to male authority!
Do we feel like wanting our enemy to stop breathing?!? But we are the enemy to each other!
Once we accept such reality and erase pulling down each other and slandering one another, we will take the first step towards equality!
We - Eritrean women - are the only power to teach right from wrong. If we maintain our focus to be pro-active, change will happen. The sooner we realise and highlight the complementarity that each woman share and use it to make our world a better and more just place, the faster we will make the word “equality“ fallen into disuse and own our destiny!
Think about it. 35% of our freedom fighters were women. This statistic is available by each leading fighting group (ELF & EPLF), we still miss the percentage of our brave Warsay female fighters.
Now, imagine if half of that power took over the government at the birth of our independence or now (!), Eritrea would be striving.
Competition would be available and our standards of education would be worldwide accepted… and then what happened?
Our female fighters - once independence was achieved - were relegated to minor and irrelevant roles and a majority accepted the “only role of spouse” and walked seven steps behind the man. Thus, some opted for suicide and others crossed borders to enter refugees camps.
A minority struggled in foreign countries and achieved a higher education. We are proud of the latter, but they are a minority nevertheless!
Impunity by male dominated societies is the main enemy of equality for women! That walks along divisions among women rights’ group!
Gender-based economic, social and cultural rights inequality and discrimination in constitutions and policies across the African continent and around the world, is a reflection of all happening in our Eritrea. Women continued to be denied full enjoyment of their rights.
The percentage of African women and girls accounted for 62 percent of all global deaths from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
A united block of women - around the world - is the solution to all of the above quoted miseries. No matter to which country we belong to. However, creating unity starts at home!
It is clear that if women took over leading power after our independence, such victory would have been inclusive!
Once women will be able to exercise their rights to access education and lead our military, we will see a surge in prosperity, affordable health systems, greater freedom and well-being! Not only for women but for our whole society!
Let’s strive for unity and disrupt the stagnant status quo preventing us to stand as one and own equality!
Each generation of my country's women , I look up to.
In particular, our female Veterans that have blended in one group called Eritrean Women.
I am inspired and grateful.
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