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Vodacom empowers male staff

by Sunday Express
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Mohalenyane Phakela

VODACOM Lesotho says it priorities the empowerment of its male staff to understand issues and expectations of women and other marginalised groups in society hence the recent seminar for 30 of its male employees which was held at Thaba Bosiu Cultural Village on Wednesday.

Dubbed the Male Role Modelling, the session which was led by Dr Paul Leshota – an expert on narrative therapy of disabilities, gender issues – was aimed at giving the employees an opportunity to look at all aspects of masculinity, focusing more on how it feels to have upper rank in society.

At the beginning of the session, Dr Leshota asked every participant to write down his five top achievements as well as the five things he regrets the most.

He then gave each a playing card from the deck of 52. Participants with Hearts were asked to group together as well as those with Spades, Dices and Flies cards.

Hearts were asked to imagine themselves as women for that particular time, Spades – homosexuals, Dices – the disabled and Flies the white people. The groups were then to discuss whether they would still have managed to have those achievements as well as regrets had they been in those imaginary positions.

After a 10-minutes discussions, each group made its presentation with questions allowed from other groups. It was concluded that whites, males, able-bodied and the ‘straight’ (heterosexual) people had an advantage over their counterparts due to societal values.

After the break the therapist asked that the focus be on men and roles they play in society as well as how those affect their wives particularly as men have a senior rank in their families.

Among the insensitive issues discussed, was why it was such a problem for men to remove their wives’ underwear from the washing line or even wash them. In an interactive dialogue, concerns that surfaced was that a man who does so is deemed to be a weakling.

They also discussed whether or not it was a good thing to help women with household chores. It was felt that while it was a good thing to help, women tend to take it too far by expecting men to do it all the time, whereas they were just helping with what was essentially ‘women’s work’.

Dr Leshota however, advised them to set aside the fact that they have higher ranks in their families and put themselves in their wives’ shoes from time to time.

He said they should not regard their wives as the opposite sex, meaning their opposition, but rather their neighbouring sex, adding they have to work together to build happy families.

Speaking to the Sunday Express on the side-lines of the event, Vodacom Lesotho Communications and Foundation Specialist, Thato Mochone, said this was their first time to empower their male staff.

“The focus has always been on women empowerment, hosting several rehabilitation sessions but this time we decided to focus on their male counterparts to give them the opportunity to embrace and enjoy masculinity,” Mochone said.

“We will do a survey on its success or impact and that will determine whether or not we continue with the sessions. We intend to have different topics to keep the sessions interesting,” she said.


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