It took 105 years, an unexpected loss and a mounting corruption scandal for the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) to realise that South Africa is an unfairly patriarchal society. During their press conference at the 54th elective conference, ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini called on women to stand together. Out of all the available approaches, Dlamini chose the fong kong feminism option.At first it wasn’t her words that were a sore point, but rather her decision to use beauty products and accessories to appear softer, in order to appeal to fellow women. She looked nothing like she usually does when addressing the public. She entered wearing red lipstick and an Alice band on her head. Later, she added basic textbook feminist terms. She was armed, pissed off and ready! “In the 105 years of the ANC as an organisation and a leader of society, we feel the ANC has failed the women of South Africa,” Dlamini said.“The ANCWL is at the centre of bringing hope to the women of South Africa and we think we’ve been able to drive the struggle for women’s emancipation. We also want to take this opportunity and say we fought a good fight and the struggle for the emancipation of women must continue.”Instead of supporting the strong list (by ANC standards) of women vying for top positions, the league centred on one particular woman – the most controversial of the lot, the one who had the backing of a man who sleeps with close friends’ daughters and who the ANCWL righteously supports. So the words “we fought a good fight” and “emancipation of women” confuse me. About Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, she said: “She was insulted and her credentials were trampled upon and reduced to being an ex wife.” True. And that should never be the case.Did that outweigh her credentials as a candidate? Absolutely not! The people around her cost her the opportunity. Not her gender. This ANCWL, that supposedly represents us, didn’t try to change that narrative or create meaningful debate about NDZ to encourage voters to back her or any other woman. They did spend a lot of time actively ignoring other equally capable women, like Lindiwe Sisulu and Baleka Mbete. Now the top six has five men and one woman, one who has made it her life’s mission to defend men who are, at best, indefensible. She is Jessie Duarte, who has held the same position for over a decade.The ANC’s women continue to fail the women of South Africa. Every single day. We are a nation raised by matriarchs. Dlamini, who holds a Cabinet position she struggles with, has failed those matriarchs. She mustn’t bore us with her wailing about gender injustices when, during the nominations for key roles in the party, she and her league allowed abusive men to become contenders for the top jobs, without raising their voices. Corrupt men were elected over women.When the ANCWL is silent and, even when they speak, like at that press conference, it’s only because the advancement of women or emancipation of women has diminished their personal political clout. How about campaigning for women to have an equal opportunity during the nomination process? To change the structures of patriarchy in organisations like the ANC when you’re having this debate, 105 years too late, decisive action is needed, not bubblegum feminism, Mam’ Bathabile.