Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sudan, Are We Really Celebrating Women?

Now that it’s April, it’s time to take a moment and reflect – are we really celebrating women?
After the bells and whistles of International Women’s Day on March 8th, followed by (Middle Eastern) Mother’s Day on March 21st, we need to ask ourselves – what just happened here?
On the one hand, kudos to all Sudanese organizations that not only marked both events but actively celebrated them. Ubiquitous social media posts about events, awards and generous presents filled our time lines. Public figures and local celebrities were prominently featured – and a lot of cake.
On the other hand, what was conspicuously missing was the obvious. If we, as women, are to be acknowledged, appreciated, encouraged and celebrated, it needs to be in the form of action. We appreciate the accolades, but now organizations & governments, need to put their money where their mouth is.
Now that the cameras have stopped rolling, up next are policies, assurances and affirmative action. We need spaces to talk about our issues, we need forums to make our voices heard. We need a place to come together and make our voices heard.
There is a universal debate about gender income inequality and women’s issues in the workplace. Sudanese organizations need to sign up for real change and not just attempt to appease the womenfolk with beauty tips and flowers.
Now that we have established how essential women are throughout the month of March, I look forward to the seminars, workshops and legislation to come.

Historically, Sudan has been at the forefront of women’s development, with prominent pioneers in various areas. We need to step up and carry on the tradition, making sure that women are honored, with more than lip service, in the workplace and society.
It remains to be seen whether the Sudanese Government or Corporate Sudan will take the lead on this, but we all know that gender equality is good for economies and good for business. Your move. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Cynical Human: What Social Media Means To Me

I rant and rave on Facebook. Nobody cares. Which is fine, because other people rant and rave on social media and I don't always care either. That's the beauty of Facebook, in a nutshell. You can find people with like-minded rants, judge people with different rants - or (my favorite) educate yourself and study human nature by following all the rants. 

The person that disagrees with you isn't always wrong and when they are (racist, misogynistic) if you look closely, you'll get an insight into the why. It's not that hard; most prejudice is ignorance. So what can we do with that information? We can educate ourselves and others. Easier said than done, but in a world of Google, blatant ignorance is inexcusable. 

I have yet to meet two people that argued online and ended up agreeing with each other (this delightful Canadian interaction is not an exception, they were on the same page and took the time to sort out the confusion).
So, you can put your faith in human nature and try to have a constructive discussion with your fellow human, you can troll the opposing camp for amusement (cheap, yet satisfying) or save your energy, put your thoughts out there and keep moving. 

That is why I rant, this is why I rave. I feel passionately about some things - Sudan, justice, equality, children's rights & gender rights to name a few - but I don't feel that anyone needs to share this passion with me (except my husband & kids, they're stuck with me). I would say my role is "news compilation"- a secondary source & resource. 

Feel free to ask, feel free to disagree & yes, please, feel free to share. 

My dream is for us to tap into our humanity & take it from there, doing what we can. Of course I'm cynical but given the chance, given a choice, I do believe that most people will choose to do the right thing. 
I also believe we are flawed & vulnerable, so a little empathy goes a long way. 

I can't be quiet, I can't not stand up and raise my voice. Education, awareness, empathy are much more important than sympathy. Raising your voice for the voiceless is now considered an outdated concept. We need to work towards a community where everyone has a voice and a place to make it heard. Once we hear each other, we can work together - or apart. My hope is that we all do our part for a better tomorrow - not for some, not for most - but for all. 

Who's with me?