“We met women who are beaten every day by their husbands for asking for money for food. They are brought up to believe that if your husband doesn’t hit you he doesn’t love you. We met women who have to sell fish their husbands have caught. But the tradesmen buying the fish know they will rot after 4-5 hrs in the heat. So they stand there with their trucks full of ice and toy with the women as the price of their fish decreases while the clock ticks, eventually agreeing only to buy them from the women who will grant them sexual favours. I met women who have to walk four kilometres to fetch a can of water eight times a day. I consider myself fairly strong but I tried lifting one can and could barely carry it a metre. Some of these women have to send their daughters alone after school from the age of seven to collect this water instead, where they are often abused by men from other villages.”
If it had not had happened, you would be forgiven for believing that somebody had invented it. Such is the convenient way it can be used as a metaphor.
I thought about it for the first time as I was travelling into Swansea on a bus one day, but I must have dug it out from the back of my mind because it is a relatively common metaphor to be used.
It has been used to portray many things; organisations, politicians, and nations, but I think that it is best suited as a metaphor for society as a whole.