Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Ever seen a four every word punctuated title ?
Question mark? comma, full stop .exclamation mark !in one
Women  lives full of thus
Patriarchy domineering , feminism under backlash
Women have negotiated, still negotiate, will ever negotiate
Promises promised, never premised
Spaces shrunk, voices thwarted
Seems this men`s world, makes and breaks laws
Makes and breaks promises
Women lives punctuated ,back and forth 
Question mark on promises?
Heads of states made promises
To  sign, ratify, domesticate
Protocols, conventions, declarations
Declared and vowed, Solemn declaration 2004
Promised everything, premised none
AU protocol on women`s rights ,only eighteen ratified
Never domesticated , fear men will be domesticated
Is it thirty or fifty,  women representation in  decision making ?
Increasing to fifty as if thirty premised
Economic empowerment when vending outlawed, poor women illegal
Women booted out informal sector, all borders sealed
Promises are just promised , professed, never premised 
Given  promises, women choices
Comma on choices, women move on, pose, choose
Male or female heads of states for 21st century,
Voting  more males to promise or females to deliver
To involve men or women
Men involved as presidents, pastors, ministers, school heads, pilots
Their choices, women  domesticated
Their promises ,their choices, men pose ,choose
Women promised  love , next day in cold blood
Promised domestic love affair, given domestic violence
Promised domestic violence law, no guaranteed custodial sentence 
Full stop for women spaces.
Not negotiable, just women .Full stop. Ndi-i. Sealed.
By women. For Women. In Women. Through Women.
With women.  From women. To women .On women.
Beijing Platform for Action. For women.
Women caucuses, coalitions, clubs, organizations, associations.
Ministries for women affairs. The affairs are for women. Full stop.
Girls only clubs .Girls spaces. Full stop.
Feminist theory, ideology, practice, belief, school. Full stop.
No more interrogation, `Hey! Why girl child and not boy child, did men approve?

Women activists used to labels, to stereotypes, 
'Family breakers, loose, western, prostitutes, Ms'
As if perpetrators ever knit families
As if female prostitute is with no male prostitute
Men wine and dine, rape, cheat morally correct wives, no interrogation to date
All actions justified, defended for they are a sovereign species
Women spaces ,women choices. Fully stop. Ndi-i. Sealed 
In those spaces there be loud women voices.
Exclamation means claim thy space.
Women rights ,human rights.
Claim gender equality ,equity  too
Speedy access to drugs, HIV  feminized pandemic
Harmful cultural practices, total elimination whatever justification
Women pastors and priests, majority to congregate women
Fifty fifty women in every parliament, 21st century for women
Unless claimed promises remain promised! 
Now see !!

Title questions, comma-poses, fully stops and claims!!!!
Women lives titled thus
Where are the promises? Are men ever suitors?
Punctuate women lives with comma to pose and choose
Women spaces are women spaces. Fully stop. Ndi-i ndi-i.
Voices!!! Promises, promised and professed  not premised!!!
Women empowerment strategies thus
Question, pose, fully stop, claim space voice and choice
Promises? Choices,  Spaces. Voices for women!! 

*Betty Makoni is a Woman Activist Zimbabwe.

**Please send comments to or comment online at