Mukasa Sirajeh Katantazi
There is a story that was featured on NTV Kenya about a mother who in a bid to appease her hungry children cooked stones.
The kids had gone days without food and were crying incessantly and so she crafted this make-believe scheme to beguile their impressionable minds into believing that food was forthcoming.
A neighbour alerted by the unending cries of the children paid a courtesy call only to realize that nothing palatable would be coming from the contents of the cooking pan.
She posted the lady’s plight on Facebook and neighbours have since come to the rescue of this family.
Then there was a social media video of a woman in Kawempe being concerned that her children would die of hunger, undressed protesting the failure of the authorities to make good on their promise to give food.
Namilyango Junior boys donated supplies to her embarrassed relief.
Both incidents are extreme and to some the impulse to blame and criticize will kick in especially against the nudist.
But this is the natural disposition of a woman, the urge to preserve life.
The Bible story of two women both claiming to be the mother of a child before King Solomon confirms a mother’s natural tendency to preserve her child’s life.
The true relationship to the child was revealed when King Solomon suggested that the baby be cut in two, with each woman to receive half.
The real mother agreed that the other claimant takes the child.
During the pendency of C19 we have witnessed women sleeping in markets, pregnant women or those who had recently given birth walking long distances to and/or from health facilities.
Women have been in the spotlight throughout this crisis, with Dr. Ruth Aceng commanding the battalion (despite another self-declared Ssabalwanyi giving the media briefs and taking most of the credit).
They have provided increased unpaid home care, played the role of teachers (both formally- helping with the stay at home school packages and informally -instilling social etiquette) and the majority of healthcare givers (especially nurses) are female.
Talk about multi-tasking. Many of us men taking lazy solace in social media( and I will surely get stick for this but what the heck ,bring it on)
All this despite a UN policy brief showing that statistically, women earn less, save less, hold less secure jobs and the majority work in the informal sector.
And further that due to the patriarchal nature of our setting, they have less access to social protections and are the majority of single-parent households.
More men than women have died of Covid-19 which means that women will shoulder even bigger burdens as the male female population disparities even out (currently the male to female ratio in the world is 105:100).
There is need for real men to step up to the plate and be counted.
We need to play a more corroborative role in raising children, providing home support, protecting our families and communities, fighting against gender-based violence.
This crisis may compel a paradigm shift in gender roles between men and women as women seek more equality at the workplace, in leadership positions and decision making.
Bravo to women, for you I take a bow.
Stay home, stay safe.