Sunday, December 1, 2013


Faruk Waja

Fem-i-nism: is defined by the dictionary as the advocacy of women's rights on the grounds of political, social and economic equality.  

It was Socrates who once said... "Once made equal to man, woman becomes his superior."

Not too long ago in modern day Arabia, preceding the time of Prophet Muhammed, new born girls were buried alive.  Some followers of Judaism offer formal prayers when mothers are with child "Dear Lord, please let it not be a female child."

The notion that women were inferior to men is subtly woven into the very fabric of our lives. Boys are associated with the colour blue, (sky blue) because they were and still are considered heavenly beings, whilst the colours pink, and khaki in regions where skin colours are darker, are reserved for girls, confining them to a terrestrial future on the planet, under man's control.

As babies are born, they are dressed in these colours, under the guise of masculinity and femininity.  Later we enter schools and boys proudly wear blue shirts, sharply pressed by doting mothers, whilst girls look on anxiously, following the growth and progress of their brothers, through school, college, on the cricket field, and on their way to political, social and economic independence.

In truth, none of this would be possible, without the unflinching devotion of mothers.  Who teach us to speak, provide us with a set of values, feed us and nurse us back to health during our childhood. 

As women enter politics, it has already been shown that they are less likely to begin wars and more likely to be environmentally sensitive.  These two issues alone, would change the nature of the global economy, if approached differently.  Christine Bronstein, founder of the women’s social network 'A Band of Wives' and author of book 'Nothing But the Truth So Help Me God' said, "If half the Fortune 500 CEOs were women, instead of just three percent, we would experience higher rates of employee retention and paid family leave." It is therefore quite plausible to expect average incomes to rise, reducing the number of families in poverty.  According to UN estimates, we would enjoy a better economy and be less reliant on state benefits too.

The scientific community, which currently lacks the female stereotypic behaviour of caring and helping, also stands to benefit by levelling the playing field, as this approach would certainly lead to things like a redress of the underfunding of cancer prevention research, which has already shown that as much as seventy percent of cancer deaths are preventable, by applying knowledge we already have.

Far from superior then, men have simply bestowed upon themselves and enjoyed the status of a higher rank, in a world men have shaped to serve their needs.

One need only analyse the adverts flighted during prime time television viewing to know that women already make most buying decisions, and therefore inadvertently own the economy.  They also own the space that shapes our thinking and provides us with a set of social values.  However, it is at the doorways of corporations and senior government that this, so called power, is most fiercely defended by men, driven by the false premise that they have it.

Women are changing the world and making it a better place for all.  As they enter the workplace, they are slowly raising the GDP of each country.  In organisations where women lead, both the organisations and the women benefit.  As they enter politics, they are formulating better policies for the poor, and in countries where women are paid more, families thrive.

In their own way, without fighting, and taking the line of least resistence, women are showing that they are not equal to men, but more than equal to the tasks required to meet the challenges of a planet crying out for love, compassion and tolerance.

It therefore stands to reason that the involvement of women at the highest levels of business, science and government should not be encouraged, but fast tracked, to ensure we are able to meet the dynamic needs of a planet that is fast running out of options, with respect to the loss of biodiversity, unsustainable agriculture, population growth, deforestation and the overuse of non-renewable energy.  

Faruk Waja left the corporate world in 2004, to pursue his interests in Indian art music, photography and writing.  He travels between South Africa, Mauritius and India, where he has business interests.