I loved my involvement last Thursday at a celebration of Women’s day and so grateful that I and a handful of men were allowed into the inner sanctum, and to share in the successes and achievements of many of the phenomenal women that surround us daily.
There is something very special about a group of women together and the support they give each other. Almost to the point of a little jealousy, as this rarely happens in men’s groups, as it quickly becomes competitive, if not well controlled.
I started thinking and wondering if I (and my fellow men) have a role to play or are we just all regarded as part of the problem.
I shudder when I look at the abuse statistics, and hang my head in shame as a man, every time I hear this, not because I have done anything, but at my genders inability to stop this once and for all. And I cringe every time I hear a young man give credit to his mother and his granny for his success and I think about all the absent fathers and the role they could have played.
So, do I, as a man, have a role to play? I believe I do.
So here is my take on it and my commitment and pledge to the women in my life.
- I promise to educate myself and my fellow men in women’s issues.
- I will listen more and stop offering advice for something I probably know very little about.
- I will stand up as a man and act as a role model to all those boys and men who never had a role model of their own.
- I will act as a father to all the fatherless boys who come into my space.
- I recognise that I come with bias and even saying I don’t, is not true.
- I will strive to make myself a better man, so that the generations that follow me will have had a better example.
- I will man up. I will call out bad behaviour from my fellow men.
- I will defend where necessary the integrity, safety and honour of the women around me.
- I will allow myself to become more vulnerable so that I may better understand.
To all the wonderful women in our lives, we salute you.
To the mothers who raised us and gave when they had nothing left to give, how can we ever thank you.
To the grannies who supported and loved us and could see no wrong in us. You will be forever in our hearts.
To the wives who love and adore us when we were not loveable or adorable, thank you for seeing things in us we did not even know we had.
To the daughters who look to us for guidance and love, we try our best and hope you know how much we love you.
To our friends and colleagues who make up the rich tapestry of our lives, thank you for allowing me to just be.
Today especially and going forward we celebrate you and remind you that we do love you.
‘Wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo’ (You Strike a Woman, You Strike a Rock).