ALINA TOMA VEREHA (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section / 8 mai 2015

"United, women have the power to change the patriarchal system"

Women that truly want to change the society we live in should not mistake gender equality for patriarchy, said her Excellency Thenjiwe Ethel Mtintso, South Africa's ambassador in Romania, at the third edition of the Female Entrepreneurship conference "Women in power - a better world", organized by the BURSA newspaper, in partnership with SkyTower Building, in the tallest building in Romania.

She galvanized the audience consisting of over 150 female entrepreneurs with a mobilizing speech, in which she told women that wherever they may be and whatever their activity they should not overlook the fact that they are dealing with patriarchy.

Thenjiwe Ethel Mtintso explained: "The problem is not that women do not have access to business or that they can't be leaders. The problem stems from the manner in which the entire patriarchal system that we are living in works and which is dominated by men. Men are not «the enemy», the system in itself is. This system that we are born in defines the rules for organizing the society. The goal is not to be the women's equals and be absorbed by the equality of chances with men, but to fundamentally change the society's mentality, so that all human beings, regardless of gender, religion or color are respected. It is not normal to have one dominant entity in society".

The ambassador reminded, in this context, the experience of the women in her native country, who have worked hard to be equal to men and to be integrated in the patriarchal society, some going as far as enjoying misogynistic jokes aimed at them in their obsession to surpass their male colleagues.

Thenjiwe Ethel Mtintso also provided an updated statistic: "Globally, over 64% of the leaders are men, 72% of the entrepreneurs are men, and the first ten richest men in the world are men.

On average, globally, 22% of parliament members are women. In Romania, only 11% of parliament members are women. In South Africa we have 42%. In Romania, 67% of entrepreneurs are men. All of these figures show the disparity. Gender equality is not a product of democracy, it is something that is hard earned".

The ambassador thinks that women all over the world should be better organized and mobilize, regardless of political affiliation, age and religion, to change the patriarchal system. "Women become leaders, members of parliament, but once that power is won, it needs to be used for transforming society, so that all humans have the same chances, the same rights and are respected".

Thenjiwe Ethel Mtintso compared patriarchy to a chameleon, that adapts very easily to every situation. "But, regardless of the form that patriarchy takes, its content is the same for women in Africa and in Europe. That is why patriarchy must be attacked on all fronts simultaneously, to be changed from the ground up, and women must get organized well internationally".

Her Excellency urged female entrepreneurs not to focus only on being accepted in the world of men, but on using their power for a better world.

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