Happy Women's Day

Posted March 8, 2007 in Uganda

Today is International Women's Day. It is a public holiday in Uganda (and has been for the past ten or so years). The women here in Gulu are quite excited about it: yesterday they were running around town with brooms, cleaning the town in preparation for the big day. Today I will hopefully get a chance to spectate some of the celebrations.

I hesitate to comment on sexism in a public setting such as this, since I do not wish to offend some of my readers. Specific stories might single out my friends here.

Instead, I will admit with shame that since arriving in Uganda I have made some comments, in conversations with men, which objectify women. I have no adequate excuse: peer pressure is a cop-out, and there will never be a valid reason to treat people like objects. In celebration of International Women's Day, I promise that I will not make such comments in the future.

Sexism is not a joke. It is a very real problem facing the world today. And no, North America hasn't overcome it yet: not by a long shot.

Fun Fact: According to Stephen Lewis, who recently completed his term as UN Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa, gender inequality is the most important cause of AIDS in Africa.