Aiyo, Tissa !!

PR_Challenge Patriarchy_comrades

 

GAYA FERNANDO

There are millions of people who write stuff and say stuff. People shudder, wince and move on. Today,  it’s the speech that moves on in tweet and share, snowballing it’s way over the social media. However, somewhere it first appeared in Print; that’s real bad. Print counted for something once,  was seriously reviewed, edited material at some point.

Tissa Karaliyadda sat up and chirped at me over my first cuppa. “A man should always be the Chairperson.” This is a much-tweeted opinion of  the Minister of Child Development and Women’s Affairs. He has been shared by Frances Harrison as well as my close friends. Aaarrrgh! What was the man thinking ???

Having lived 28 years in Sri Lanka in a profession where you get to know all the maladies of society at its very basic and worst – Public and Constitutional Law- I sympathised with the guy. He had just one point that I agree with: women admittedly have appeared to stifle other women and wax matriarchal when dealing with their female junior colleagues. That is all I agree with.

Now here’s the problem : the solution of a MAN being in charge was an obvious one to this critic. He does not look at research, he does not call for capacity-building, skill-enhancement, empowerment, team-building or else for women.   People like TK have some  idea of the problem but NO idea of the solution. And this does not stop them from telling people the solution and exposing their own lack of education on human rights, the right to equality and women’s empowerment. These things are all happening in Sri Lanka and I have witnessed a very good initiative between the Ministry of Health, PLAN an NGO and Sarvodaya on empowering rural women. The results were surprising, humbling and replicable.

But despite the good work, positions such as this one points to a dangerous patriarchal attitude gaining momentum in both voice-share and support among other men in the isle. It may have, nay was, lurking in the background,  but now, coupled with a BBS consisting largely of males (ARE there women in the BBS?) and a few male politicians and else speaking their mind in style, the patriarchal voice of the Sri Lankan male is louder and tweeted far and wide.

This, when the average Sri Lankan man ( correct me if I am wrong, barring some a**holes of course ) is protective, encouraging and respectful of his fellow countrywomen, mothers, wives and sisters. Shame !

For the rest of the social twitterers: Guys when you re-tweet this stuff don’t make the same mistake as TK. Sri Lanka has plenty good initiatives by men and women to build women’s rights and capacities and else. TK may be just one issue but labeling Sri Lanka to suit your own agenda on the basis of TK maybe repeating his error: Seeing an issue is one thing, analysing it for what it is and suggesting the solution is another.

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