Posted in Life

The platform for women in the creative space just got bigger!

You can sign up at creativespiazza.com to be a part of CP community.
The ultimate Hub, in the creative space. Sign up at creativespiazza.com to join.

In the recent years, women empowerment has become a central element of development policies in all sectors to the extent that women empowerment means reducing discrimination against women in areas such as education and labour markets. This has been a core focus to attaining gender equity and ensuring there’s development. As a writer, I am yet to smile and say yeah, we are empowered.  We do not have a stable and consistent platform same goes for artists, dancers, graphic designers, instrumentalists, photographers & film makers,  musicians and fashionistas. We have not been adequately represented and we are not at par with international writers as Kenyans. Not just women, but Kenyans. But let’s talk about women.

In the creative space, research asserts that women are outnumbered by men in the creative industry but a survey of one of Kenya’s largest formal settlement; Eastlands in Umoja shows that for every 10 households, women creatives outnumber men. So, why the low statistics? Most of the women that I have met do not know or understand the value of their talent. Others, do not see it as a career or a revenue generation platform. Although the number of women in the creative space are many, men have made tremendous and incredible efforts towards the betterment of their talent. So, what about women? How do their talent contribute to development?

There has been a link between women empowerment and development. This means that empowering women is accelerating the economic growth right? Yet, in the creative space; girls and women generally see creativity as solitary. Furthermore, there are numerous stereotypes that surround the sector such as defiance and the predominance of strong male environment. These stereotypes, make it difficult to reconcile talent and professionalism among women. So, what’s to be done about this? What happens to women in the creative space? How are they empowered?

Empowerment, as a bottom up process means that development agencies cannot claim to empower women. Women, can only empower themselves. This is possible by providing platforms and opportunities rather than handouts. It entails providing women with reliable platforms and affordable yet great services that they are actually happy to pay for and be a part of. 

Creatives Piazza is coming up with events and forums to ensure that women in the creative space are also equiped with a sense of responsibility in the process of development. That’s the CP way of women empowerment, in the creative space. They are creating a platform for EVERY creative, regardless of gender; hence anyone can sign up at CP. They are creating a platform for everyone while giving women a boost through exposing them to various ideologies and cultures. This entails the men that have already established, the women that have defied odds et.al. They get to meet and interlink. That’s how they are going to empower women, through a handup, as once stated by Kenya’s radio Queen at BBC; (who said that? Well…that’s a mystery only you, can solve). They also aim at empowering women by making sure they are connected with other Creatives globally.

Women empowerment, is an indispensable issue across the globe attributed to the fact that it is the age where women are being empowered to be at per with their male counterparts. CP acknowledges that women empowerment in the creative space have not been adequately exploited compared to other field like sustainable development, education, agriculture and economic development and that’s the main focus as Creatives Piazza. 

They are creating value for women by provision of a platform and a voice to attain gender equity. Creatives Piazza is playing an enabling role and the website is the first step to ensuring this happens. CP allows all creatives to sign up but the focus is on offering portfolio guidance and services to women, to bring about access to women’s ability to shape the society through the creative space. Are you a creative? Kenyan or not? Internationally? Be a part of a creative community.

Sign up. 

Posted in Life

The most expensive handkerchief.

Everybody at some point owns a handkerchief, to blow or wipe the nose. They are not as expensive to own, but if you want to own an expensive poor quality handkerchief, those mixed color ones with burgundy, lilac and scarlet with a touch of emerald; forgive my extensive color knowledge, pop into a wedding committee. The wedding committees, not even a medical appeal or anything is the only place you are likely to get the most expensive poor quality Mickey Mouse small square thing for a handkerchief. If you have not bought a handkerchief for Ksh 2000 and above, I believe you have never been a part of a wedding committee. Do not rush to be time conscious there; the fine will somehow hit you.

The Mcs in these events are just intense. They will command you to look at your neighbor and high five them,. because you are just seated alone, you take out your phone and check the time. The MC will call out all the people who did not high five and fine them. That is now serious business. Some have mandazi too, those that sell at sh 200 each, and whatever allergy you have trust me somebody will force their way into making you buy, at least two. Well, I am hardly invited to such things, because I have never allowed people to dictate how I will eat a mandazi for two hundred shillings, while holding a handkerchief for a thousand on the other hand, and get a fine of another thousand because I came in two minutes fifty eight seconds late!

We have not even going to talk about the “wedding committee whatsapp group”yet. The ind of group that has the maximum number of people a group can hold. Is it one thousand and eighty nine? I am not sure, because the messages come in from Am to Pm. Every minute is wedding committee meeting message time. They are setting figures for contribution, insisting on the importance of pledges and discussing how the couple’s budget of Kenya Shillings Nine hundred and ninety two thousand, eight hundred and sixty two can be managed.

The couple has saved thirty seven thousand for the wedding, so this lovely committee is supposed to improvise ways of raising the deficit. Weddings are good, very good, but as you eat that free Pilau please know somebody bought a handkerchief for eight hundred and forty five to make the Pilau available. Another person had endless messages on WhatsApp, which made her purchase bundles on one thousand shillings more to make the day happen.

I have never understood why people call gatherings of five hundred people plus, some whom you last saw almost fifteen years ago, or your childhood friend who transferred to a different school at class three but you saw them in Facebook that same year you were preparing the wedding, and decide you want to feed them. You want food prepared by classic chefs and hired caterers, you want to shield them from the sun through hiring expensive tents, entertain them by hiring all the expensive celebrities you have ever dreamt of, and wear a white gown of only thirty thousand. We are almost forgetting that hammer or is it limo yet you own no asset, but wait, your contribution was only thirty-seven thousands.

I refuse to be exploited, hate me if you want, but learn to live within your means. If you can afford to feed the whole village, hire a fleet of seventy-nine limos, pay Sauti sol and Adelle and that other guy of thinking out loud (the cliché wedding song) I will not try to remember his name, please go ahead. Nevertheless, if you cannot, please do not sleep and decide that you will call my neighbor where I lived three years ago and assign them a contribution of ten thousands. Do not sit and decide that you expect them to show up for the wedding, dressed to please so that your wedding photos look good, then wait for gifts from the very person. That is selfishness of the highest degree.

If you have thirty seven thousand, that is way more than enough for a wedding, plus honeymoon, and paying a pastor, not forgetting a memorable photo-shoot, a cake name it. I will not attend your wedding committee hate me if you want, take a loan fund your extravagant wedding and give the world a break!

I don’t need handkerchiefs for a thousand shillings, and I do not need endless meaningless discussions on WhatsApp when I am supposed to be peacefully enjoying my sleep. If you cannot afford to do a decent non extravagant wedding, just do not bother some of us who did weddings for one hundred and twenty eight thousand. We are married too, same as you are trying to do. You have one choice darling, to live within your means. Weddings are good, just go for what you can afford. If we came and ate a snack at your wedding, we might never forget it, because you did what you could afford. I will invite you reading this to my wedding committee *wink*…

 

images
Seriously, elope!

Signed by yours truly,

Wedding committee planner.

Wairimu Chege.

Read more of her reads here.

Posted in Life

You can’t speak men.

Here, one has the perfect example of justice: The men have kept their women enslaved…stupid and limited and apart, for their male vanity and power; result: the dull women bore the daylights out of the men.– Martha Gellhorn.

There is one thing that I hate; being called a female or woman writer. I hate seing the titles: Female president, Female CEO, Female pilot, female influential entrepreneurs. A male president will always be called, a president. No one calls a CEO, male CEO or man CEO but we have Female CEO, Woman CEO. Women do get those names and we feel so good about it. These titles, are sparkled with glitter and given steel honor, yet they deserve a normal coat, the men get. But, growing up I must have watched so many movies I shouldn’t have, and read books I should have spared myself; they must have been bugged with ideologies. Anyway, I wanted to speak men this week but I coincidentally bumped into Julia’s article and reality dawned on me. I couldn’t. I couldn’t speak like a son of man. A male. I couldn’tA son of woman; that I could.

Why should I be a footnote to somebody else’s life?” a woman I intend to write and live like; bitterly asked in an interview. This, was one of the many interviews where critics always aimed at finding analogy between her  rangy writing style and that of her more appreciated husband(ex husband) Ernest Hemingway, one of the century’s famous writers. She got married 3 times, divorced both marriages and termed marriage “rather boring.” She drank and smoked her entire life; died at the age of 89. It is often said, she lived like a man. She didn’t. Martha Gellhorn, lived like a woman. She did not term herself, a feminist. Yet, Martha Gellhorn’s life was more of feminism in action. She also termed herself as a writer, not a woman writer. She hated the idea that women, could not become correspondents at war and did everything to become one. At 81, she still did a war story.

 Feminists nark me. I think they’ve done a terrible disservice to women, branded us as ‘women’s writers’. Nobody says ‘men writers’ and before we were all simply writers. This ‘woman’ tag leaves one seemingly apt only for women readers which is hardly my idea of my audience. I have slashed three of them and am about to slam a fourth, letters from idiot women wanting me to do or say or write things as a ‘woman writer’. Martha Gellhorn. (a temper outburst)

Mary, mother of Jesus in the Christian Bible, watched her son die. Can you imagine the horror and grief she felt? That is something a friend asked me yesterday through a conversation that entailed feminists and chauvinists being extremists. I couldn’t imagine Mary watching her son die to be honest. No, I cannot. I told him and laughed. I do not have a child. That’s when he told me, “then feminism is a sham!” I am so used to such claims, they are old news to me. The other day, another friend called feminism, Utopian. We laughed and laughed and laughed and then had some Scotch. It never bothers me anymore.

Julia pascal, a London playwright/theatre director whose plays have mainly focused on women’s lives, wrote one of my favourite articles, “understanding men.” Julia, a member of the League of Professional Theatre Women, was the first woman director at London’s National Theatre.She happened to have met; Martha Gellhorn, one of the first female war correspondents for an interview on a play she was writing. I envy her, meeting this iron lady who gave a rats ass about anyone’s opinion. In her own way, she believed that freedom is the most expensive possession there is; it has to be paid for with loneliness.

These were two women divided by forty years in a room talking about men and war. One drinking Scotch, the other; Vodka. One; highly educated, a child of enlightened German settlers while the other, a child of parents who cared nothing for female education; Jewish. A non feminist and a woman, who’s stand; we do not know. And yet, they connected. They had conflicting views but similar ideologies. This, was interesting. Julia, was a pioneer in the Creative’s industry; so was Martha. These women had different ideologies; Julia put her hair down, while Gellhorn believed that a woman was to put her hair up. Yet, Julia still came to the second interview with her hair down, even after Martha told her how elegant it was, to have your hair up, as a woman.

The only way I can pay back for what fate and society have handed me is to try, in minor totally useless ways, to make an angry sound against injustice.- Martha Gellhorn

All Julia says she gathered from her interview with Martha was, YOU CAN’T WRITE MEN. I read the whole articles and I saw a woman through 2 failed marriages, 1 boring and bad failed marriage making it 3, bold life ideologies, 2 types of women both pacesetters, a great career and a good life. I got to see how it ended with those 2 women in the same room; different ideologies. Menstrual blood, brought bad blood between them. Interesting, right?  So, I realized after reading the aarticle; YOU CAN’T SPEAK MEN either. I also learned there is more to marriage than we know, “You start with romance and end up talking about (gas) bills.

I read Julia’s article via email this week and wondered; should marriage be on a contract basis? Then I logged in on WordPress and met subjective hat’s post on dissolving marriage; you can read it here and wondered, should marriage be illegal? The other day, I asked Megan( a member of dsba), “Why do men behave in certain ways kama kuweka mguu kwa meza?” She laughed and told me, let me know when you know. I haven’t known yet. Won’t bother either. Some lovers are meant for each other, they say. Two mature people making bad decisions and feeling good about it seems right, who am I to say they are wrong. Just the other day, two adults sat down and saw fit to lie to each other about someone else; it must be a strengthening factor. Yet, of the two couples a woman will still sigh more than she smiles; when the fun is over.

Men’s privileges and inequality during WW11 made Martha hate being a woman, she hated bleeding, she wished she had done a hysterectomy. At her 80s, she was disgusted by it all. The marriage, the sex and the men. For decades, she had worked with men and she didn’t understand them. If they weren’t loving you, they were pitying you and other days; they were envious of your work if married to you. Still, she preferred to have male role models than female, to see how much she could do. But, she never understood men; despite working with them, working like them and defying odds. Many women, are in Martha’s shoes. We just need to be men, and by men I mean normal but we can’t speak men. And so, we stop trying to understand men, just like Martha Gellhorn. Instead of wasting time understanding a man, take that time to understand yourself more; just like Gellhorn did.

Yet, Martha Gellhorn has a son.