I would like to commend the government, previous and the present, for its effort to uplift the status of women through girl child education. I remember we used to have GABLE (Girls Attainment in Basic Literacy Education) which specifically focused on girls’ enrolment in schools. I think at the end of the project it was described as a success which means we have more educated women now than we would have without GABLE’s efforts. This further means we have more women working in offices now. Efforts are still being made to make sure that more and more women take up high positions in government and non-government institutions. There was a time we used to see small girls begging for alms along the streets but now very few of them or none at all continue begging. I presume they were either adopted or they are in orphanages and have been sent back to school. Possibly if this trend continues we should see less and less prostitutes in cities though a close friend of mine told me that some of the prostitutes are ladies working in companies. I can hardly believe this as I don’t think a lady can be a secretary, cashier, clerk, officer, manageress or nurse during the day and a prostitute at night. It’s like having a man working in an office during the day and a habitual thief at night. Those in offices, from this layman’s perspective, have their own “smart” way of prostituting and stealing without being called a prostitute or thief. Anyway, that’s a discussion for another day.
However, we seem to focus more on the girl child, leaving the boy to struggle alone with education. As mentioned earlier GABLE was for girls only. I’m not very sure if we have any NGO that is doing a similar job for boys like GABLE was for girls. We continue seeing small boys who could have been at school begging along the streets. While educating the girl is important I feel education for the boy is even more important.
Malawi , just like most poor nations, adopts anything that the Western countries advocate. That’s the problem with being poor. The rich will always dictate to us what to do. America-funded NGOs have been formed to lobby for the rights and promotion of women. Not a bad idea. It’s now common to find adverts that end in “Women are encouraged to apply”. Not a bad idea either. However, if we have more women working than men we should expect chaos.
United States , the champion of democracy and women’s rights, has probably the highest rate of crime. According to http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/crime.html In America , the crime clock continues to click: one murder every 22 minutes, one rape every 5 minutes, one robbery every 49 seconds, and one burglary every 10 seconds. And the cost of crime continues to mount: $78 billion for the criminal justice system, $64 billion for private protection, $202 billion in loss of life and work, $120 billion in crimes against business, $60 billion in stolen goods and fraud, $40 billion from drug abuse, and $110 billion from drunk driving. When you add up all the costs, crime costs Americans a stunning $675 billion each year.
In my opinion this is the price we pay if we put emphasis on women and in the process ignore the needs of men. It’s also the price we pay whenever we deliberately or otherwise act contrary to God’s Word who said “Because you [Adam] listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat of it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19) (NIV)
The man was given the task of fending for the family. This responsibility was not put on the woman. In verse 16 God said to the woman … “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Man and woman will eat of his (not her) sweat. That’s the reason the woman was put under his authority. The two were equal before sin came in. One day we shall go back to that condition but that time is definitely NOT NOW.
America has the highest crime rate because of the same policy they have managed to impose on almost all nations: promoting women to high positions. More and more women are being educated sometimes at the expense of men as women are usually given lower passing rates and favoured when it comes to employment. It has been a practice and perhaps it is still a practice for the examination boards to give lower passing rate to girls than to boys. If a boy drops from school he doesn’t receive the same attention as a girl dropout. The end result is that we have many loafing boys who, if they were only encouraged to go to school, would have been earning a living the acceptable way. But pity! There are many boys whose only way of earning a living is stealing and robbery.
These boys we see everyday begging in the streets are being brought up in town. Most of them don’t know their home village. They don’t know farming. But they are growing up. Naturally at one point they’ll need to marry and then raise children. Can they sustain their families through street begging? Since they are not educated can they find a decent job? Nay. What’s the way out for them? Crime! Some of them who are scared to marry because they cannot take care of the wife opt for rape in order to satisfy their lusts.
According to a study by Kerry L. Papps of Victoria University of Wellington and Rainer Winkelmann* of IZA and Centre for Economic Policy Research, London there is some relationship between Unemployment and Crime and crime is closely associated with men and not women, at least in the Malawian context. Crime will be on the increase if more boys drop out of school and therefore fail to secure employment. In fact if you can only get all married women off the offices and give their jobs to the equally qualified but unemployed men then you have much less crime.
According to http://www.socialistappeal.org/usa/poverty_and_unemployment_in_amer.html America has about 6% unemployment. The population of USA is 301,091,077 (http://www.census.gov/population/www/popclockus.html , as of 3 February 2007 2:16pm). Take 6% of this you get about 18 million people unemployed (I don’t know if this is the right interpretation. I can be corrected). Any wonder that crime rate is so high?
According to http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/resprogs/usam/default.html unemployment stands at 40% in South Africa which is described as the most dangerous country in the world, which is not at war (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/1924251.stm) . There is something wrong somewhere.
Experience has shown that a working woman can hardly support a jobless husband. I’ve seen marriages breaking up just because the husband was not working and the wife was the sole bread earner. A jobless man naturally feels inferior if he is being supported by his wife. But thank God! His original plan works perfectly well and in fact many men are happier to have housewives than otherwise.
Please understand this layman properly. I’m not saying women ought not to be educated and/or employed. There is literally nothing wrong in educating the woman. There are many single women– whether by choice, divorced or widowed – now working and doing very well who would have otherwise been suffering had they not been educated. The programme of encouraging women to go to school so that they can be independent later should continue. However, my appeal is that we should not forget the boy child when we are trying to help the girl child in all aspects of life. I know some few years ago there used to be more boys than girls going to school thus the formation of GABLE but now it appears it’s the opposite. We have more girls than boys going to school. It’s high time we saw BABLE formed to encourage boys to go to school to catch up with the girls. Let’s take these young boys off the streets while they are still tamable. Adzatibvutatu awa. Azidzatiberatu awa. Let’s do something before it’s too late!
Nayowoyapo waka apa ine maghanoghano ghane.
So who is ready to join this layman in forming BABLE or at least CABLE (or YABLE) to take care of both sexes?