The constitution of Kenya 2010 recognizes women as a special group that deserves constitutional protection. In an effort to free the girl-child from the shackles of poverty and backwardness, the constitution equates the rights of women to those of men and as such, they are entitled to enjoy equal opportunities in the political, social and economic spheres just as it is for men.
Seven years down the line and the two-thirds gender rule has since started gaining roots in the above mentioned spheres after the promulgation of the 2010 constitution. Today, the girl child has been awaken by the continued support of female legislators. But what does this mean to the boy child?
Contrary to the long gone society (before 2010) where the boy child was superior than his female counterpart, today, they both enjoy equal rights. In fact, in the coming years, the male species will become inferior because nothing is done at whatever level to empower the male gender. A lot of effort is directed towards strengthening the ground for the female gender to have absolute control in almost every sphere (which is good). But what does this mean to the boy child?
The male gender is now at the periphery of the development sphere. He has continued to hold and practice old traditions which dictates that they should be the overall providers in their individual families and basically take care of all the needs of those under him (of course he’s the head of the family). It is a good thing for a man to be in a position to provide. In the case of a union where the lady earns more that the man, I argue that they should share their family expenses other than the man having to carry the complete burden. The common phrase, “pesa zako ni zetu na zangu ni zangu” should not be encouraged at all costs, especially in holy matrimony.
Going by a recent survey conducted on ladies, an average Kenyan woman would rather spend her money on clothes, her face of doing her hair and cosmetic products rather than settling bills such as rent or school fees. A further seven out of ten would prefer to buy beauty products ahead of paying rent or school fees. Of course, apart from the mentioned above, the male gender accounts for all the other expenses, no doubt on that. So what does this mean to the boy child?
Probably the above is the only motivation that drives a man. To get to a comfortable position where you can fend for your family or your better half. Ladies will argue and say that is what defines a man. That is who a real man is. Yes it might be true (50-50) but not with all those expenses. It’s just not right. The boy child is under siege.
Again, the above mentioned survey ranked Kenya’s beauty industry 3rd in Africa with an estimate of over 2.6 billion Kenyan shillings after South Africa and Nigeria. Now, this is significant because Kenya’s economy is not third in the continent. Neither is its population anywhere near Nigeria’s almost 200 million people. Sounds irrelevant but is it all about enhancing your physical appearance? It is good to be financially independent, but kindly support the boy child (haha).
Indeed, the woman’s voice has been heard loudly and clearly especially now that they are protected by the constitution. The female species has continuously ascertained their equality to men. Nobody wants to hear a tune of male tribulations. This may not be a worry to the girl child but it may come with a price which may be dear to the entire society. The massive attention that has been given to the female gender has with time created some sort of imbalance. Arguably, the said attention has also led to some sort of intimidation for the boy child (even though its not the only leading factor).
Here is why. As at 2011, yes, a year after the promulgation of the new constitution, reports indicated that there were more female employees in at least four government ministries as compared to men. Today, occupations that were widely occupied by men are no longer a challenge to women. Why? Because that has been chances in job success have been skewed towards women. Where does this then leave the boy child?
Perhaps the contributing factor to all of these is the decline in our value system. In this generation, what people care about is money, money and more money. Fine, there’s nothing wrong with being wealthy but, the problem is with the ways people acquire the wealth. The whole thing should be like a process where one has to work in order to earn it. The current strategies where one has to be connected or pay a price (not necessarily in cash) is of no doubt a worrying trend.
If at all we are to regain our morality, then we must first look for ethics. The ever increasing pressure mounted on the male gender has made them adopt a policy of “get rich quick” in order to be considered a man. Sad enough, this is what the current society stands for. It is by being rich that the boy child thinks he will gain the trust and win the hand of a girl child. It is saddening that the status of the boy child has been and is continuously rising beyond his reach. What is to be done to mend this? Is there a way out?
I would say yes. It does not make an effort to compare girls to boys. It does not intend to imply that an issue of concern to the male gender does not affect the female gender. Records have it that many of the risk and protective factors as well as interventions may be relevant to both genders. As the girl child gets empowered day by day, let the boy child be embraced as well. This way, the male gender will caese feeling neglected as is the situation currently. It is equally as important to empower the boy child as it is to empower the girl child. Let us empower the boy child through purposeful education as well. More especially, we need to redefine our societal values.
Be the change you want to see in the society.