Rights of a Woman is one of the poems in The Wonderful Surgeon and Other Poems for the 'Advanced Level English language Paper Two'. Read Poetic Terminologies, How to Read a Poem and How to Analyse a Poem before reading and analysing the poem below:
Rights of a Woman
By Charles Mloka
Rights of a woman,
Mean entitlement of all human rights,
Like the right to life,
And all related rights,
Such as rights to shelter and clean environment,
And equality for all,
To participate in social, cultural, economic and political affairs,
The affairs political-like the right to elect and be elected
In the society.
But yet I am thinking!
Where are these rights?
Who owns these rights?
Still marginalize you,
Still mirrors in societies.
No research is needed in offices, in rural areas,
Inequalities – between man and woman.
Who does not see?
How much of the Beijing Voice,
Of you, a woman,
adhered to the nice Resolutions,
Resolutions and Covenants,
Covenants and Protocols,
Governing your rights?
They say Girls are cut,
Their blood oozing,
Profusely irrigating the dry soil,
Away their life taken,
Under the guise of customs.
Oh! Genital Mutilation, they say!
You are violating the basic rights,
Of woman and other beings!
You are committing a crime,
similar to genocide.
But where can we prosecute you, GM?
Before the International Criminal Court?
or in debate like this one?
Where are nice programmes,
in texts empowering a woman?
Who is empowering who?
And who is implementing what?
Is it empowering elites or big names to be MPs?
Councilors or rulers?
And those with small names!
Are they in the list?
Woman up stand! For your rights now to fight!
 THE POET
Charles Mloka was born in Arusha, Tanzania. He attended primary and secondary education between 1965 and 1975. He studied Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Dar es Salaam. He worked as clerk Assistant in the Parliament of Tanzania from 1998-2006. Currently, he is the Assistant Director in the Hansard Department of the Parliament of Tanzania.
 THE TITLE OF THE POEM
The title of the poem is direct and reflective. It is direct and reflective because it reflects the contents, that is, rights pertaining to women matters.
 THE SUMMARY OF THE POEM
The poem is about the campaigning for the rights of women in the society. The poet defends the women and criticizes the organizations, authorities, and leaders that do not take women’s rights seriously.
The persona of this poem is a disillusioned person especially when he says "Where are nice programmes,/in texts empowering a woman?" He is also a fighter and avery determined person. He says "Woman up stand! For your rights now to fight!"
The addressee of the poem is that society in which women's rights are abused and the gap between men and women is so drastic.
The tone of the poet towards the audience and the subject matter is angry.
The mood of the poem towards the audience is angry.
 STRUCTURE OF THE POEM
The poet has divided the poem into five stanzas with varying number per each stanza.
 KIND OF THE POEM
The kind of the poem is modern free verse poem. It does not rhyme.
 SOUND DEVICES
The poet has applied several sound devices. Some of them are:
(1) Repetition. The poet has used this technique so as to emphasize a point. For example, in the poem, the poet has repeated the word ‘rights’ several times in order to emphasize his point. There is also a repetition of the word ‘woman’ in the poem.
(2) Rhythm. The poem also has a rhythm, although it does not rhyme. The poet has chosen and arranged the words in rhythmic patterns, that is, in stressed and unstressed patterns.
The poet has employed the simple language. The language is ordinary and it reflects the content of fighting for the women’s rights. The poet has also applied the following figures of speech:
(1) Imagery. The poet has used the language that produces or evokes the images into the reader’s minds. For example, in the 4th stanza, the poet has used language pictures when he says, ‘Brutally circumcised, their blood oozing,…’.
(2) Hyperbole. The exaggeration of facts or situations has also been applied by the poet. For example, in the 4th stanza, the poet says, ‘You are committing a crime, similar to genocide’. Here the poet has compared the effects of women circumcision to that of massive killings of the same group of people called genocide.
(3) Personification. The act of giving inanimate things the animate qualities. Here the poet has personified the inanimate things when he says ‘Their blood oozing, Profusely irrigating the dry soil’,. The blood is given the human behavior of irrigating the soil.
(4) Allusion. The reference to well-known things in the work of art. The poet has used the terms like Beijing Voice in 3rd stanza and International Criminal Court in the 4th stanza which are real things that exist in real world.
The issues of the poem has been widely discussed most of which are about women’s rights and the empowering of their positions in the society. The following themes have been portrayed:
(1) Hypocrisy. The hypocrisy of the leaders and those who claim to empower women’s rights has been shown by the poet. For example, in the last stanza, the poet is blaming the people who only preach women’s rights so that they get into power or to win women’s support but they are not in favor of their cause.
(2) Position of women. This is widely discussed by showing various roles taken by women in the society concerned. For example, in the poem, women are portrayed as the ones who are denied various chances like chances in the office and are mistreated in various areas of life.
(3) Human rights. Women’s rights are also included in Human Rights. So, the poet is trying to advocate the women’s rights that are also human rights. The women have been denied their rights like right to decision making, right to education, right to life, and right to hold an office.
(4) Female Circumcision. This has also been portrayed in the poem. For instance, the poet in the 4th stanza says, ‘They say Girls are cut, Brutally circumcised’, This shows that the women are brutally circumcised by the so called Female Genital Mutilation.
(5) Social inequality. The poet shows that there is social inequality between men and women. Men are favored than women in all aspects of life. There is no equality to all people. Some people like men are more equal than others.
(6) Irresponsibility. The ones who are responsible with women empowerment are irresponsible for they proclaim nice programmes but they do not implement them. In the poem, the poet says ‘Where are nice programmes, in texts empowering women?’. This is a proof that people ignore the empowering women programmes.
 MESSAGE OF THE POEM
The message of the poem is the empowerment of women’s rights that are also human rights. The message also speculates on the removal of unfair treatments to women like female circumcision.
 LESSON OF THE POEM
The poem has several lessons. The poet teaches us that we should we should practice equal and fair treatment between men and women. We should also stop the malpractices of female circumcision because they are inhuman.
 RELEVANCE OF THE POEM
The poem is relevant to our society and other contemporary societies because the women are still marginalized and in some areas they are brutally circumcised. It is a time to have join force in combating the things that undermine or marginalize women in our societies.
Other analysed poems from this selection are:
Mloka, C (2007) The Wonderful Surgeon and Other Poems, Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam.
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See also 'O' Level English Language Notes: