Women’s Month and the department of woe

What more can be said about the department of women, children and people with disabilities? *Big breath*

Its name has been mocked so often that it has now become a bit of a cliché to call it the department for everyone except able-bodied men. Everyone’s made that joke, got the T-shirt and moved on, except the DWCPD, as they call themselves in their catchier moments.

Speaking of catchy, have you heard their slogan for this women’s month? “A Centenary of Working Together towards Sustainable Women Empowerment and Gender Equality.” Note how they’re careful to get the “working together” bit in there, a mainstay of ANC slogans. And don’t ask what unsustainable empowerment looks like. Because it certainly wouldn’t be a department that seems to rouse itself once a year and flood journalists’ inboxes with endless programmes for the month of August before receding into a mysterious somnolence once again.

Since Women’s Month kicked off, I’ve had up to three statements a day from the department. For the rest of the year, I forget I’m on their mailing list – that’s how quiet they become.

The latest statement, a calendar of events for the month of August, was a real treat. An excerpt:

08/08/2013 Young Women in Maritime:  The next generation of Sea ferrets

16/08/2013 Young Women in Mining:  Kenako Basadi:  ons kan dit doen…..

23/08/2013 Young Women in Aviation:  Girl child spread your wings and fly …

30/08/2013 Young Women in Rail:  Ayashosholoza Amakhosikazi

While I applaud their attention to the young, it’s anyone’s guess what a sea ferret is. “Is that like a girl scouts thing? Like brownies? Seals?” asked one of my colleagues suspiciously. Another colleague Wikipedia-ed it, and found that it could refer to a military drone and/or a weapon of semi-mass destruction launched from covert submarines beneath the ocean. Or both. Terrifying images of little girls being launched into the air filled my mind.

Read more at the M&G.

Image – Gallo