Winnie Byanyima stirs storm asking men to kneel for women

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A granny kneels before Winnie and Besigye

The executive director of Oxfam International, Winnie Byanyima, says women kneeling for men is a humiliating culture that needs to be abandoned in the 21st century.

The comment that stirred a social media storm came after a long tour of her ranch in Kasangati Wakiso district.

Winnie started by sharing pictures of her Maama’s garden comprising of mangoes, bananas, cassava, cherry tomatoes, a bumper crop of corn, beans and sweet potatoes.

She thanked her staff and a one Ruth who supervises them.

“No place like home ! Our neighbour Kyobe is encroaching on our land. I won’t let him, I brought witnesses, community leader Mai & others to confirm borders and have uprooted his newly planted oruyenje fence. Resolved!”

She then went on about her nephew Magara who came to visit her at the Green Cottage and posed for pictures with her son Anselm.

Kneeling debate

Winnie then shared a picture of her neighbour, a woman who kneels every time she greets her.

“Neighbour Leonarda kneels down to greet me. I tell her not to kneel, but she insists that a young woman must show respect by kneeling to greet older women and men,” she tweeted.

She added: “I don’t agree, boys don’t kneel. How do we stop this humiliating ritual?”

According to Winnie, a handshake would do to show each other respect and acknowledge equality as human beings.

“This is not just about you, its society. Why do women kneel before men and men don’t kneel before women?”

She added: “Yes, I like returning to this debate. Why must women kneel for men? Why?”

Winnie says she admires a one Beth Juna—an amazing leader, educator, community organiser and women’s rights activist.

According to her, kneeling is not a cultural value, it’s just a cultural practice. “We can do without it and find a way to show mutual respect.”

Winnie argues that a firm handshake and perhaps a little bow – by both men and women to women and men would do without discrimination.

“Curtsying, kneeling, foot binding, female genital cutting, dowry etc all are old cultural practices that subordinate women.”

She added: “Some are more harmful than others, all have no place in an equal world.”

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