Is the woman the tail in the family? If not, where does she belong? In this article, Paida Mpaso writes about the issues that are affecting the women the most, especially in this day and age, where HIV and Aids is common.
A research by National Aids Commission (NAC) reveals that 50 percent of women who contract the HIV and Aids virus do so while in marriage. This, according to author and HIV activist who is also former vice president, Justin Malewezi, is unfortunate.
In essence, this means that most men are not faithful to their spouses.
Since research says women are usually put at risk, are there ways of empowering a woman? What is the role of the church in this? Can women knowing that their men are not being faithful demand the use of a condom?
Gender activist Seodi White says women are not empowered enough to negotiate for the use of a condom in a matrimonial bed.
White believes the place of a woman has been defined wrongly in society.
“In our society, women have not been [culturally] empowered enough to stand up to their man and demand a condom – a situation that is backfiring.
“Otherwise, we are moving backwards. It’s a very sad situation. [Culturally] married women are unable to negotiate for the use of a condom from her spouse,” she says.
She further says women need to return to the drawing board and remind each other about their rightful place in society and in marriages.
“In many bridal showers, women are made to believe that they are simply receivers. They need to take it upon themselves and ask what they want from their husbands other than just taking everything from the husband. I am not saying we should be rebellious,” she says.
Furthermore, White says, with the advent of HIV and Aids, there is no way a woman can simply be on the receiving end.
“If you have to question your husband’s whereabouts, do it, there is no harm. If you do not, you may be putting your life in danger,” she warns.
Moderator of Blantyre Synod, Mercy Chilapula, says as part of helping couples to be open to each other, Blantyre Synod organises marriage sessions.
Says Chilapula: “These sessions are aimed at encouraging families to be open to each other. We have realised that most families consider talking about issues of sex as a taboo, which is not – especially for married people.
“At first, these sessions were only targeted at women. But we realised that something was missing because when the woman returned home, she was still on the receiving end. The sessions are now delivered to couples. We believe we are making progress, however, little.” she said.