On Tuesday’s show we discussed Burma and Hillary Clinton. Michael was our last caller. He said: ‘This is typical of men in the developing world. Their attitude towards women is holding their countries back?’ Then George emailed who describes himself as an African living in Portland, Oregon. ‘The question was not only wrong, it shows the mindset of most men in African. We Africans are very chauvinistic. Next to the Middle East, African males shows the least respect to there women and usually don’t take women seriously. I’m glad Hilary put this person in his place.’
We had a few callers after George who were keen to hit back, some quite outraged by his comments. Take David in Sudan: “yes she answered badly and yes the person who asked the question was ignorant. But how can you say that the whole of Africa is sexist. You cannot make such generalisations.” Another caller from Nigeria believed that the question was unfair, “don’t forget that many men know nothing other than the mentality of their former colonisers. With time, this will pass too.” We’ve had such a great response that we are considering running this story tonight.
Some of you feel that we are blowing this all out of proportion, like this blogger who says that we are all too quick to shout “sexist”.
In South Africa the ANC has been criticised for failing to take women seriously in politics. In 2007 the ANC announced a target of 50% representation for women in government and public life. Are you in South Africa and have you noticed a change?
This is not to say that there hasn’t been progress in Africa when it comes to women in politics. In Kenya, Prof. Maathai is at the forefront of an robust environmental movement in Africa, whilst in Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has climbed to the highest political post in the country.
So is it a man’s world in Africa? Is a macho mentality holding the continent back? And is it up to African women to move the continent forward?