By Apial Esther

We are here because of change. Change for women, change for communities, and change for better. We want to move forward into the future and not live the past. The past has much that is better and much to teach us. But as we go forward, we need to leave behind ideas, actions and attitudes which are no longer helpful. Let’s begin with the past.

The traditional image of women is of being dependent on men, staying at home all the time waiting for help and support. The idea that women are dependent and unproductive is not genuinely true. Such idea will delay any serious efforts to end famine and reduce poverty. Years of experience have shown that poverty does not disappear through welfare but charity through economics activities carried out by both men and women in all situations. We need to see women as they are; active effective participants in development.

Some people think that women’s contribution to the economy is not very great as most of them stay at home and do not go out to work. However recently, studies have shown that women in all situations contribute toward improving the living conditions of their families and developing their country as whole.

Women work in fields to grow crops to feed their families and sell them in the markets for others to buy. They work at home to cook meals, clean the home, wash clothes in order to make life comfortable for other people in the family to do their own jobs better. Women also bear children and bring them up. These children are the future developers of our country.

Women work in the markets, offices and in the illegible businesses to increase the family income. However, it is sad that all these are not seen as economic activities. In order to show that women do contribute to the economy, something needs to be done. But what can be done?

Women should be given practical help and encouragement. For example, in many countries in the world, women farmers have been allowed to get bigger areas of land, bank loans and technical support in order to produce more and better crops. This has resulted in both good income for the family and a good supply of food for the areas, as well as practical help.

Women also need to be included in making decisions about what happens in the country. In South Sudan for example, we hear that women’s issues are part of ten (10) years strategic plan.

Some progress is being made, but there are still many problems to be solved legally, financially, socially and above all educationally. You need to release the importance of good education for women. Yes, we need practical assistance and education. We are not simply asking for society to recognize the contribution to women, but we are asking the society to recognize the contribution that women make.

The writer is student of Juba International Secondary School.

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