Violence against women is not always physical and sexual in nature. It is also about whose ideas carry the day.
This is profound and relevant in the context of the raging debates in Uganda about the gender composition of discussion panels. With passion, Ugandans opine about who should be on the panel gender-numbers-wise and who best represents women and women’s issues.
More and more, I am convinced to pay attention to what is said as opposed to only which gender is saying it. This in no way means that I condone discrimination against women, of whom I am among; and a woman of substance I am; a FEMINIST I AM.
Gender-balance, increasingly for me, must not only be judged by the numbers of male and female on a particular panel, but MUST ALSO BE JUDGED on the IDEAS OR VIEWS that are represented on the panel.
Using this yardstick, so to speak, I am increasingly wary of accepting to be a panelist in discussions that right from the word go are obviously and clearly skewed towards a particular ideology of which I object.
In this context, for example, a discourse analysis of the topics – the titles of presentations or sessions and or the questions to be asked and answered will reveal to me if I should take the time to participate or not. This is because one can tell if the discourse has been or is going to be ‘facipulated’.
I first came across the word ‘facipulation’ in the mid 1990s I do believe, when giants in the not-for-profit sector were advocating for genuine grassroots participation as opposed to the ‘elite’ elitists faking such participation. The word, as it was explained to me, was formed by combining two words: “facilitate” and “manipulate”; meaning that ‘facipulation’ is when a facilitator manipulates discussions to achieve a predetermined conclusion.
I ask myself, why should I participate in a ‘facipulated’ panel just so that I AM USED TO LEGITIMIZE an event that is a publicity stunt or a smokescreen that allows for the perpetuation of a moral order to which I am inherently opposed?
I ask myself, is the purpose of my participation majorly to allow the organizers the loophole to falsely claim that those who hold the same views as I, have been genuinely involved but that we are the insignificant minority view?
At which point, I am thinking that instead of participating in such an event, it might be better if I actually took the time to author a blog post, a brief, an opinion piece, a paper, an article for publication in a peer reviewed forum – journal, website, and, and.
QUOTE CREDIT: I do not quite remember where I got this from, but I think it was during a workshop that I attended early this year and right here in my homeland, Uganda. I actually think that it was at a workshop organised by CIPESA. Either I was inspired to write it down in reaction to one another participant had said or someone at the workshop said it and I wrote it down.