Anyuak’s women have come a long way, but there’s a lot farther to go

St. Paul, MN, August 21, 2012 (GSN) – Anyuak’s Women Community Association meeting in US was a success.

On August 18, 2012 the largest Anyuak’s Women Community Association in world met in St. Paul, MN and elected their new leader Ajulo Akway by vote of confidence. Ajulo Akway will lead Anuyak’s Women Community Association in US for the next 2 years for the things that are crucial for community: culture, ideas, thoughts, language, art, peace, education, social, friendship, unity, family value and much more...

It’s not that the world has never had its share of strong Anyuak women. It has. No one could call Ariet, Ajulo or Abang shrinking violets. Today, Akello can show some attitude while Awilli holds iPod or smart phone in the palm of her hand.

Women and Work. Women and Leadership. Women and Politics. We have been listening to this debate our whole life. Are we up to it? Or as an early male chauvinist pig (remember those?) once said, “If you can’t stand the heat get back in the kitchen.”

But what has really changed for the real women “Anyuakism” in North America? One sure sign of progress is the numerous equality changes over the years.

What began as women’s emancipation over a hundred years ago changed into women’s liberation, and then became feminism.

In the workplace and public life it has now morphed into gender equality and – for the really progressive – diversity and inclusion.

Does this mean that, in the words of the iconic irresistible Slims Anyuak’s women advert, “You’ve come a long way, sisters.

The announcement on October 07, 2011 that three African women have been awarded the Nobel Prize instantly made news. Much has been made of the fact that they are African, pro-democracy and religious, or any combination of these. But every article, website and report highlighted the fact that they were women.

We do not think the scriptwriters of the hit 1960’s series Madmen were exaggerating when Joan – the glam office manager – showed a new typewriter to Peggy – the clever secretary – and said, “Don’t be overwhelmed by the technology. It looks complicated but the men who designed it made it simple enough for a woman to use.”

We well remember people talking like that.

Last month, The Economist reported that the World Bank “Gender Equality and Development: World Development Report 2012” points out that globally, women earn 10-30 percent less than men. They are also concentrated in “women’s” jobs.

Annoyingly, economic growth does not seem to narrow the gap.
Here in North America, women may serve as bank chiefs and even opposition leaders,
nobody in the West disputes any more that women have got what it takes to lead, manage or make a difference. The barriers of sexism and the lack of role models are no longer the main barriers to Anyuak women.

Rather it is the taking care of children that women want or need to make time for that is the big obstacle. This means that many Anyuak women are on a bumpy work-life balance seesaw their whole lives.

That view has cemented our belief that working mothers can be leaders. Our Anyuak sisters and colleagues on our Steering Board of Anyuak’s Women Community Association in North America are among the most able and focused women. All are successful mothers, house wives, single mothers and all have a bunch of kids at home.

Questions: Can Anyuak women have it all?  Or are Anyuak men willing to promote and share in their success?

We are battling the twin enemies of time and guilt, although we’re getting better at it. The economic necessity that makes two salaries required for many households in Anyuak’s family is one reason why we may not be lagging too far behind. But religion and traditional roles for women in Anyuak society are deeply rooted in. Particularly in the religious sector, the weekly online Anyuak’s worship church program help Anyuak’s women worldwide  to restore Anyuakism value but, there is still some ambivalence about men and leadership regarding development, social, political issues and family value.

If that is still the case here, how much more so must it be in Africa. This, of course, is what makes the achievements of Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman so noteworthy.

Can we imagine any of those three activist women from Africa saying to herself as little girl, “One day I am going to win a Nobel Prize? Or a black child telling himself that one day he would be president of the United States? Old prejudices may die hard, but they do die.

And there has been another intriguing development. We are only now beginning to fully realize that when men and boys do not play a full part in the raising of children and the running of the home it is they who lose out. They are disenfranchised. The intriguing part is that they now seem to be realizing it too.

There is nothing impossible if you put your mind in to it. For instant, First Southern Sudanese female commercial pilot ever, Aluel Bol Aluenge's journey has taken her from Africa to America and back again, and a path from young refugee to Ethiopian airline commercial pilot. To all Anyuak girls and boys worldwide, keep the dream, and hope alive and stay in school. For youth all out there, start pulling up your pants, be braved, focus, get education where ever you are and invest your knowledge and time to your community.

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