Gender equality must begin at home

In case you missed it, here is an article by Kopano Ratele and Rebecca Helman to mark Women’s Day published in the Saturday Star of August 6.


Professor Honore Kahi: My Kinda Teacher

Professor Honore Kahi

This is an image of Professor Honore Kahi

An professor of communications at Bouake University in Ivory Coast professor, Kahi “was photographed by his students after putting a student’s baby on his back so that the student can get on with things.

Honore Kahi is not really a special kind of man. And Kahi seems to see why his act can be be treated as extraordinary. The news-report said Kahi offered to take the baby from the student as he was crying and preventing the mother from sitting in class. Maybe that makes him a special kind of teacher, male or ay other sex.  In the face of societal and global shifts and confusion around gender and sexuality what is commmon sense and an ordinary act of and kindness  can be confused for something amazing I guess.

A most wonderful thing is that Kahi carried the baby in the way we grew up knowing how the baby ought to be carried. That’s cool.

The news-report said Kahi offered to take the baby from the student as he was crying and preventing the mother from sitting in class. Maybe that makes him a special kind of teacher, male or ay other sex.

How did we get here? Can we say carrying a baby on one’s back makes one a special man? Probably, in a world where tv, cultural power-mongers, imbecilic politicians, and the rulers of the world have gotten boys and girls, men and women so messed up about what it means to live well with each other, Professor Kahi might not be a hero but he sure is my kinda teacher.

Being that kind of teacher, in my calculation, is one of the most important roles any grown man, certainly a father, can play in children and young people’s lives.

In this world where we get our ideas about the meaning of relationality from Hollywood films, religious  zealots, Nollywood dramas, ads, Bollywood storylines, and all kinds of snake-charmers and perpetrators of inequality,  where many of us have been seduced into forgetting the simple lesson Kahi seems to remember, his commonsense appears like genius and courage to go where no teacher dares to do. For that the image of the man must be shared across the world.

Some of you men will say, why, we grew up with this. Some of you can attest that this is no big deal. But that’s just the thing. There are girls and boys who are doing this at this moment. I did with my cousins and neighbours’ children. Yet too many of us seem to have forgotten this is such an ordinary thing in many families and neighbourhoods.

Kahi seems to understand that teachers, men (and we add boys) can easily do things like carrying an infant on their backs, of course, but in a world desperate for gender heroes he is being shunted into the role of superman. That understanding, that this is no big deal, that I sense in this teacher’s response, more than putting a baby on his back, possibly makes him worthy of a billboard, maybe even an ABC tv show. Honour the man.

You can read the original story here.

South African researchers release a study on how South African families think about gender (in)equality at home

Here is a journal article on how South African parents and children talk about and do gender and gender equality at home.

The researchers visited families to hear how parents and children talk with each about equality, masculinity and femininities.

Parents were asked questions such as ‘Do you think there should be a difference in how boys and girls are raised?’ and children were asked, ‘Do you think boys and girls should be treated differently?’ The article reports some fascinating answers to these and other questions about gender and gender equality.

The article was published in the journal Global Health Action and can be accessed for free here.

Roundtable on “Current and Future Work on Men and Masculinities”, Durban, May 28, 2016

The Interdisciplinary Initiative on Studies on Masculinities (IISM) will be hosting a roundtable on Current and Future Work on Men and Masculinities in Durban on Saturday May 28, 2016. Here is a blurb about the roundtable, including the list of panellists.

The roundtable will be hosted as part of the International Conference on Community Psychology which is happening from 27 to 30 May2016. I am not sure if they will let you in if you are not part of the conference, but perhaps if you say you have had lunch already, they just might.

For those who could not be at the Symposium on African men and masculinities reimagined which was co-hosted by IISM, the Anthropology & Sociology Department (University of Western Cape), Institute for Social and Health Sciences (University of South Africa), and Violence, Injury & Peace Research Unit (South African Medical Research Council and University of South Africa), at the University of Western Cape last week, what a terribly thought-provoking and interesting event you missed. I am still trying to figure out made it so good.

There will be other papers on boys, men and masculinities at the International Conference on Community Psychology which may be of interest to readers of this blog. You can see some of the titles of the papers under the programme icon here.



Michael Kimmel is Talking at Wits University, May 9

Michael Kimmel's Talk at Wits.png

Professor Michael Kimmel will be involved in two discussions at Wits University on May 9, 2016. A sociologists by training, Kimmel is a well-known name in the area of masculinities. He runs the Centre for the Study of Men and Masculinities at Stony Brook University in the United States of America. His books include Manhood in AmericaAngry White Men, and Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men.

We couldn’t confirm it, but reports are that the Guardian newspaper called him “the world’s preeminent male feminist”. Justice for Men & Boys’ Mike Buchanan called him “the lowest form of life, a male feminist”.

Feminism continues to attract insults, support, boredom, and bemusement, not in equal measure. Don’t even start on male feminism. We wonder whether men who espouse equality between women and men generate as much feeling and words. Perhaps we have to test that. In fact, Kimmel gave a talk  at TedWomen in May 2015 on “Why gender equality is good for everyone — men included”. If you are not familiar with his work, it may be a good introduction to his views. You can catch it here.

The discussions at Wits with Kimmel are organised by the Gender Equity Office, Prof Tommaso Milani of the School of Literature, Language and Media, and the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies. The evening discussion will be chaired by Professor Malose Langa, a member of the ISSM, and the  discussants will be Dr Peace Kiguwa and Joel Modiri.


A Man in Women Studies: A Personal Experience

“The biggest challenge I was confronted with as a male doing gender studies was when I travelled back home after semester one for a holiday. An old man in my village asked me, ‘why of all people, are you wasting state funds and an opportunity to move from a rural area to a capital city university to study women? If you really wanted to know who women are, you should have come to me and I would have told you who they are and what they do’. This was one of the many covert and overt resistances I had to bear as a man in gender studies.”

Start at the beginning and read more here.

African Boys, Men and Masculinities Reimagined – Programme

2nd Announcement12.4.16


Two weeks ago we posted an announcement for the Symposium on African Boys, Men and Masculinities to be held at the University of Western Cape (UWC) on May 4, 2016.

Here is the draft Programme

Since the announcement a new speaker, Monique Huysamen, had been added to the programme. A doctoral candidate at UCT, Ms Huysamen will talk about her work on men who buy sex, under the title, Doing’ race, ‘doing’ gender: Exploring the complex dynamics of cross-gender interviews with men who pay for sex.

The rest of the details are as follows: Professor Kopano Ratele of the University of South Africa and the Medical Research Council will talk on How to study men from African psychological perspectives.

A culturally embedded (Ubuntu) model of self for positive personal transformation of African men is the title of the talk to be given by Ms Shahieda Jansen, a therapist associated with the University of Western Cape. Ms Jansen runs men’s groups at the University and in Cape Town.

Dr Sakhumzi Mfecane, an anthropologist at the University of Western Cape, will talk on Theorising masculinity through African concepts. Dr Mfecane specialises in studies on men and HIV. He is the co-host of the symposium with Professor Ratele.

Ms Mandisa Malinga, who graduates with a PhD in June and is based at Stellenbosch University, will present on Cross-gender interviews and Xhosa masculinities: The cultural implications.

The title of Professor Lindsay Clowes’s talk is Elephants in the room: the significance of gender in undergraduate gender studies classes at the University of the Western Cape. A historian by training, she teaches in Women and Gender Studies at the University of Western Cape.

Professor Malose Langa of Wits University will talk on The emotional costs of being a ‘different’ young black young man. Many of his studies have focused on boys, violence, and fatherlessness.

It promises to be an interesting gathering. Spread the word.