HE is beautiful, brainy, married and a high achiever on the corporate ladder because she really works very hard and is focused.

HE is beautiful, brainy, married and a high achiever on the corporate ladder because she really works very hard and is focused.

Her employers, first a major parastatal and later blue chip companies, were very pleased with her contribution to their companies and rewarded her handsomely for her efforts.

As she climbed from one rung to the next, she kept wondering what else there was for her to achieve.

She was also very aware of the fact that she was admired, secretly and openly, by both male and female colleagues.

But she also faced resistance from male chauvinists and, surprisingly, female colleagues who resented that one of their own was shooting to the top while they were not.

The fact that she and her husband, (let us call them Sipho and Thembi), have overcome the challenges of a wife earning more than a husband and raised their three children well, did not go down well with her colleagues.

This made Thembi realise that she had done everything she had to do at the various companies. Now it was time to leave.

Thembi started her own recruitment company, placing high-calibre employees into suitable jobs at various corporates, some of which were the very companies she had cut her corporate teeth at.

But, no matter how important Thembi was in the corporate world, at home she was also completely appreciated as a mother and wife as she looked after the interests of her family and even did the cooking whenever time permitted.

Now, in the context of this country's history of marginalising, abusing and disregarding women, treating them like little children, mostly by men, and quite shocking, sometimes by powerful women too, the social distortions did not make a mockery of Thembi and Sipho's family values.

The debate about the role of women and men, particularly females in the corporate sector, has tended to distort reality.

This debate is quite interesting, particularly in Women's Month, when the country focuses on the role of women in society and how they build the nation.

For example, in today's corporate South Africa, is there a place for an ideal woman like Thembi, who though successful in the corporate sector, also has a harmonious relationship with her family, notably her husband Sipho, whom she regards as the head of the family though she earns much more than he does?

Could it be regarded as abuse that Sipho does not do traditional "women's chores such as cooking for the family, washing the dishes, hanging out the laundry or even changing their baby's nappy?

This is despite the fact that Thembi brings in the bigger chunk of the family income, making Sipho's contribution to the family kitty pale by comparison.

These questions made a havoc of my thoughts recently at a gender discussion in Newtown, Johannesburg, on Women's Day.

They continue to play in my head as I am bombarded by messages of how we men have become monsters to our mothers, wivesI, sisters and all the other women in our lives.

Interestingly, and quite revealingly, one participant at the discussion complained that in some cases it is the gender activists themselves who seem to have no respect for other women in the organisations that they run.

"Often the people who speak the loudest about the abuse of women's rights are in certain cases themselves culprits in the abuse of their subordinates," she said.

We were all stunned into silence and did not know what to say.

This appeared to suggest that history is repeating itself. For example, how often have you heard of an African leader taking power from a colonialist and in the end becoming a worse dictator once he is in power?

These rotten apples in the ranks of gender activism are people who fight the good fight, and win, but in the end develop the egos of the monsters they have replaced.

These people are distorting the good fight against gender marginalisation and women abuse.

They are no different to the rough men of the jungle, who think muscles are everything and give them the right to dominate, disrespect, maim and kill sisters and mothers in the name of authority.

The point is, to my mind, if Sipho and Thembi can do it, we can do it too.

Women can super-achieve in the corporate world and at home without making their partners feel inferior, and with their men respecting and loving them.