Is the “male” an endangered species?
I sat calmly in a theater watching a play. I promised myself to relax with no hard thinking as I would often do but this was not to be. It was an easy cool Sunday the 19th of December; and Christmas festivities were nigh, reaching fever pitch. Considering it was at a Church ground; Mavuno Dome-Nairobi, the play concentrated on the birth of Jesus Christ.
The play was good, hilarious, educative and with a recap of the old childhood memories of my Bible classes. My mind raced when it reached the part where King Herod ordered the killing of all the male children below the age of two years in Bethlehem as described by the Holy book in Matthew 2:16. I lost track of the play and indulged into deep thoughts and rhetorical questioning. Why would someone kill all the boys as he aims for only one? What about their generation, who will sire, what about their age mate, age group, who will fill in the gap?
As a practicing Veterinarian I recalled, a couple of days back when I had visited a farm with varied livestock animals for consultation. In this particular farm, the bull calves, heifers, adult bulls and cows had equal existence opportunity and the rules of nature takes full course. I asked to know the purpose of the farm, and of course it is for commercial purposes. Immediately I changed my tone and ordered 90% of the bulls above their puberty age to be eliminated from the farm. Either slaughtered for meat or to be sold off and the remaining 10% must be castrated for use as beast of burden if necessary. I also advised castration of all bull calves and once they reach the market weight and age they should be sold immediately. These measures were to be observed to goats, sheep and pigs. I promised not to visit the farm again unless my recommendations were implemented within a week. Then I took a flashback to a fortnight ago when I visited a first time poultry farmer. She had just brought in both broiler (male) and layer (female) chicks and my consultation services were paramount for continual management and professional advice. I ordered special care for the layers, including brooding measures, housing, nutrition, treatment and vaccinations. I also advised the sale of broilers (males) for meat within
35 days of age while the layers will live their full life span for maximum production.
Nowadays dairy farmers have a chance to choose either to have a female calf (heifer) or 50% chance of bull calf and 50% of a heifer. And of course every farmer wants to have the heifer through what is called sexed semen. In short, the semen is sorted and the XY male chromosome are discarded (what a waste) and the XX female chromosome selected and packaged nicely for insemination to produce heifers. A visitor comes home, or there is a celebration and what goes down is a bull, a cock, a ram and all those male species.
This trend of “programmed” short lifespan, sacrifice, elimination and hard labor is not only observed in animals. There are numerous initiatives worldwide seeking to empower the girl child and women as a whole. While the boy child, son, brother, man, husband, father are ignored and ends up suffering in silence. Some of these initiatives include: Florence Nightingale International Foundation, Girl Child Education Support Initiative, Girl’s and Women’s Education Initiative, Girl Child Art Foundation Campus Initiative and also our own Tegla Loroupe Peace Foundation-Girl Child Support, Samburu Girls Foundation and many more. Most of them seek to support
orphaned girl child, and yet boy child is equally orphaned. Look at the way breast cancer is a big concern worldwide. In fact the whole month of October is dedicated to breast cancer. In male its equivalent could be prostate cancer which men suffer quietly and not many in the public domain are aware of it. Others widely publicized in the females favor include fistula, cervical cancer and uterine fibroids. More opportunities are prioritized to women even in circumstances where both sexes are supposed to fight for them regardless of gender, as even displayed in our new constitution on representation especially in the senate for the position of Women Rep.
From a tender age in our African rural setting, boys are left to do the hard family works like tendering the farm, spending the whole day in the sun, rain and strong wind herding livestock, helping at the quarry breaking stones and the likes. All these deny them time to go to school, exposing them to risky health conditions and at times death. Whereas on the contrary, girls are more favored doing the soft normal household chores, more encouraged to pursue education, provided with proper sanitation and more so maximum protection from the harsh African traditions against them by various organizations and initiatives.
I fully support and encourage the flourish of girl child and women and have nothing at all against their empowerment, but what about the boy child? Are there such organizations that protect the boy child?
On 10th of December, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of the Human Rights which described all human beings as equal and deserves equal opportunities, respect and recognition of their rights disregard of sex, age, race, language, color, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. This was later on seen to be contradicted by the Fourth World Conference on Women dubbed the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action held on 15th of September, 1995 in Beijing China; which had emphasis on privileges towards girl child and women development.
As the world cries of gender equality in favor of the females, I am left to wonder how equal is equality, or if there is a striking line in between. Maybe this equality has been surpassed and the cry needs to shift to favor the males. We even see these surplus in various areas whereby what used to be the man’s best is now the lady’s best. For instance I remember, when announcing the 2010 KCPE results on 28th December, 2010 the Minister of Education Prof. Sam Ongeri emphasized a worrying trend of reduced numbers of boys who did the examination in Central, Eastern and Nairobi provinces then as compared to higher numbers of girls. This raises questions
about accessibility of education to the boy child. I walk around Nairobi today and I meet young ladies in their twenties driving fancy cars which by males are occupied by men in their forties and above. Whereas males in their twenties and thirties are hustling with matatus daily or at least company vehicles. Not only is this in Homo sapiens but in all the animal species. What if a mysterious disease emerges and wipes out all the few remaining males?
Look at the mentorship programs and television shows; Victoria Lounge, Daughters of Zion, Chanuka Dada just but to mention a few. Where are ‘Victor Lounge’, ‘Sons of Zion’, ‘Chanuka Kaka’? What about Men Enterprise Fund, Kenya Men Finance Trust, Youth people with disability and Men? Above all these, men are expected to be the bread winner. When an older woman moves around with a young man, it is seen to be okay but on the reverse the man is labelled a ‘Sponsor’.
I was thinking really loud, asking myself answerless questions, an interrupting cacophonic frenzy ensued, and immediately I restrained my thoughts. The play had come to an end, and the time was 9:46 PM. I rushed to the nearby bus stage and boarded a matatu as I watched a good number of young ladies and older men drive off, everyone to his and her own direction.
To you policy makers, human activists and animal welfare crusaders!
By; Dr. Isaiah Nchagwa Chacha