Empowering girls in Africa – with Carine Museminari

Heidi writes

The future of the world lies in the hand of the women – the Dalai Lama once famously said. I think that he is right for many reasons. One is obvious: during the last thousands of years masculine energy has ruled the world, in particular after the enlightenment where reason was elevated over all other human aspects. Reason and logic is the domain of the masculine, sensing, connecting and creativity the domain of the feminine, which was considered inferior and therefore the world slipped into ever more profound imbalance. Women with a natural proclivity for the feminine aspects of life have the potential of rebalancing it.

On the other hand, women were confined to private life almost entirely. They haven’t played the roles in public which men have for centuries and therefore they haven’t perfected the more or less vicious games men play to gain and conserve personal power over others by war and treachery. It doesn’t mean that women lived without power games, especially with men, but in their caring qualities they know how to lead their children through difficult times, to feed them and make sure that they have a future. Using these skills for the benefit of larger groups than the family and ultimately for the whole world – this is the unexplored realm where women have a high probability to succeed.

That’s why we need women’s empowerment. We need to educate girls in ways that they respect and build up their  qualities and their potential. They need to be encouraged to feel themselves as full members of society, equal to men and equally needed with their specific approach to life. They need to become confident that the feminine approach to life is deeply needed and not at all sacrificed to the ideas and dominance of the masculine, as it happened with feminism from the 60s on.

Africa is a “developing continent”. The West has done a lot to colonize the countries and export their ideas and belief systems. But something like the western enlightenment hasn’t happened organically there. Tribal values have survived in the psyche of the people. Although patriarchy and the dominance of the males is overwhelmingly present there, too, there is the chance of not amplifying it by one sidedly celebrating the mind and reason alone, but to reconnect with the more feminine values of the body, of connection and community. There is the chance for women to step up in self confidence and take over their active role in society without trying to become similar to men.

Carine from Rwanda is a young woman who is stepping up. She works in a human rights association and she encourages other women to learn new skills, to build their own businesses, to step out of passivity and take over active roles outside of their traditional one in the family. A long way to go, but there is much hope that, finally, these women can convince the men to give up on their dominance and become equal partners to their women. Not only allow them to become a breadwinner for the family, but also actively take care of their own offspring which – so far – was exclusively in the hands of the mothers. Men changing the diapers: it took a long while in the west until it became a possibility. It will take a long while in countries like in Africa, but with the insistence and the patience of the women, they finally will arrive there – for the benefit of all.

Videopost for October 14th, 2020

0:00 Intro Heidi about the empowerment of women.

2:00 Carine talks about herself her studies and participation in a human rights organisation and womens’ empowerment. Women power has been left behind, she wants to raise the awareness.

3:30 We try to become better men! The attempt to become women with feminine qualities again.

4:40 Carine: we also grew up to see men as role model. Girls as Tom boys. We can be girly and stil do everything we want.  Her family story, father died and mother a business woman who did well until Corona.

8:15 Heidi asks: how do you see your future in Africa and how can empowered women create a better future?

8:50 In Africa internet has changed the situation in Africa which before was disconnected from the world. Adopting western culture works somehow. Human rights means: with women empowerment women and men meeting in the middle, so the world can become a better way. 

12:15 Heidi talks about Linda Shuma: Women are more conscious in using resources.

13:10 Carine talks about the program which teaches skills to women to be able to have more impact. Handcraft is also valuable to contribute to society.  

15:35 Women are happy to learn new things. Taylor business and handcraft, more women inspired by watching the more skilled women to learn new things themselves.

17:25 In rural areas women are still submissive, it is different in the cities, there is now also competition.

18:25 Carine’s idea what she wants to see happen in 5 years. She wants to spread awareness in more organisations.

20:50 The distribution of the goods manufactured by the women. Women know that they have the right to be taken care of by their husbands. Work with the women and their partners in the program. Making men understand that women contribute to the welfare, but it is not their sole responsibility.

24:10 Men contributing to raising children? Still really difficult. Men sometimes donÄt even know the names of all their children. Difficult to make them understand that they need to change the diapers, too! The lock down doesn’t give them any more excuses, staying home…

26:00 It needs “men’s empowerment” to take on also the traditional women’s work. 

28:00 Last words. The imbalance in the masculine world. Not married women are still worse off. Sharing contribution and responsibility in all areas is needed. Coming to   partnership instead of the imbalance.