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Woman power.

What a disappointment your article entitled, "Woman Power" (NA, July) was. I bought the magazine (at London's Stansted airport) with an expectation of learning more about the leadership women provide in the transformation of the African continent today. However, what I found was just a bunch of stereotypes and lame arguments provided in a very unbalanced way.

The lead article does not analyse the issue of women's participation in leadership in the contemporary Africa. The author, Tom Mbakwe, does not care what women in leadership positions think and do.

Similarly, we can see lots of colourful pictures of First Ladies in the lead article, but we hardly learn anything about these Ladies, their contributions or roles. Leadership in his view is a male thing. And yes indeed, almost the entire lead article is about men and their urges!

Unfortunately, even the subsequent articles do not provide justice to the subject of women and power. What we get in those pages are little bits of information on "some" First Ladies. What is worse, anything meaningful they have achieved is dwarfed by the lead article which has nothing to do with women, power or leadership.

The lead article revolves basically around one thing only. Sex. Sex that men need and need badly. The issue of women's impact on leadership somehow gets sidelined.

What a denigrating view of women does the author intend to promote. The world is finally becoming more serious about respecting women as human beings with skills, talents and the potential to influence the future of humankind, and above all, as individuals entitled to have rights equal to men.

But no, we read that a woman is just a thing to give a man sexual satisfaction! When she "fulfils her role", the world is in balance!

The conclusion of the author's "analysis" of woman power? It is sexual power!

Bizarre as it is, still, how can anyone claim that a woman, being a First Lady, has power over man through sex? In a gender-unbalanced society (and this means everywhere on the globe), most men have access to sex easily. Let alone powerful men. If they don't get it at home, there are many other women at their disposal.

The "downfall" of Dominique Strauss-Khan is not due to sexual power, but because the people in at least some parts of the world do not want to tolerate the impunity of powerful men. In any case, to first argue that the wife has sexual power over the husband and then to write, on page 20, that a First Lady can be easily disposed of and changed for a (younger) version, somehow weakens the whole argument - doesn't it?

In general, the "arguments" in the article are based on selective Biblical references, the writings of one author (Chinweizu) and some (unknown) male interviewees (with what power of representation regarding general views?). Where are the views of women, since they are the subject of the article?

Nonetheless, one thing came out quite strongly while reading the cover article. For all the boasting about this huge "female" power over men, why is the position of so many women and girls in Africa today still so vulnerable?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The part on men as providers for women was equally ridiculous. Maybe, instead of interviewing taxi drivers, the author should have bothered to talk to at least some African women who are shouldering the weight of looking after their family while the husband goes drinking with his buddies.

How many abandoned women are there in various countries that would laugh and cry at the same time, reading this line? It's the idea many African men have about themselves, but to what extent do they live up to the image of providers?

Why not give more space and present more details about achievements of the First Ladies and other women in politics or other forms of leadership?

Why not talk more about Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf? Surely, she was elected as president due to different kinds of qualities in her leadership than the misguided Mr Mbakwe writes about!

Surely, many women in positions of power have not used it well. But we need to hear about that too. This is the reality.

Marcela Ondekova Bratislava, Slovakia
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Title Annotation:Readers' views
Author:Ondekova, Marcela
Publication:New African
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Oct 1, 2011
Words:705
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