Gender

Women should demand condoms too

SPEAK OUT ON VIOLENCE with DORIS KASOTE
WOMEN have every right to use contraceptives just like men do.
I don’t know why it has been viewed as taboo for a woman to suggest using condoms when it is alright with a man.
A woman, just like a man has rights to do what is best for her body.  Women who may suggest using condoms to their spouses may be viewed as being promiscuous yet that woman is doing what is best for her well-being and for her partner in most cases.
Why should a woman who wants to use the female condom be viewed as promiscuous when a man willingly uses a condom and no questions are asked.
Every person has a right to protect their bodies from unwanted pregnancies and even sexually-transmitted infections. Some women are compelled to opt for condom use especially when they see that their spouse’s behaviour is unbecoming.
It is best to just protect oneself, especially in the light of HIV/AIDS unless both are sure of each other’s status.
Simply put……Denying a woman the right to use a condom is violating her sexual reproductive health rights.
When a man transmits a disease to a woman because of his refusal to use condoms, it is deemed normal but when the case is vice versa, all hell breaks loose as such a woman is called all sorts of names.
The usage of condoms is not a preserve of men but women too. Why should a man have an upper hand on decisions that also affect a woman?
A female condom, unlike a male one can be worn hours before the act and yet when some women are found wearing the condom, they may be viewed with suspicion.
Besides women are the ones who usually nurse their spouses when they are unwell.
Undoubtedly, women have the rights and one of these is the reproductive health right and the use of female condoms is part of that.
But with all the myths surrounding the female condom, this right is being violated.
As opposed to men using their male-designed condom, females have been victimised for using the female condom forgetting that females too have the right.
Women have shunned the use of condoms because of myths and misconceptions that surround it; this certainly needs to be done away with.
It is for this reason that there is need to scale-up the uptake female condoms in the country which have been in existence since 1999.
During the commemoration of this year’s World Female Condom Day, Zambia Health Education and Communications Trust (ZHECT) chief executive officer Chilufya Mwaba Phiri said to ensure that there is increased uptake of female condoms, the organisation has partnered with various civil society organisations to sensitise the community to use female condoms because they have a number of benefits.
Despite these concerns, some women may want to use the female condom but the scarcity tends to leave men to be the ones to use condoms.
Walk in any super market today, male condoms are readily available but women have to search for the female condom.  If women have to be empowered, let’s make such facilities readily-available.
Just as much as women have the right to sexual reproductive health, such life saving facilities have to be made available to them.
Women need to be empowered to make choices concerning their health.
A female condom has proven to have the ability to give power to women to make decisions about their sexuality, thus it should be promoted extensively.
HIV/AIDS has a female face so women should be given the ability to make decisions about their sexuality and no one should deny them that right, regardless.
I emphasise, just like men, women have a right to sexual reproductive health, let’s all support them.
Until next week, Let’s keep in touch!
For comments:dkasote@daily-mail.co.zm

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