“Because I am female I am taught to aspire to marriage” – Chimamanda Adiche
I am taught that my role in life is incomplete until I have a ring on my finger. I am somehow incomplete if I am not on the arm of a man. There is some unspoken engraved accomplishment for a woman who can find a man who wants to spend the rest of his life with her, and not the other way round. This is perceived as a decision and a choice for a man, whereas the woman has to ensure she makes herself desirable enough for a man to want to spend the rest of his life with her. There is a real prejudice in marriage, the worst being that is an accomplishment for a woman. It is intended to be equally sought after by both man and woman, granted that is what they want their lives to look like. Yet, the unspoken truth is that for a man it is to be a choice, for a woman it is to be her desirability.
We have long since evolved from the era where a woman’s place was in the kitchen and her voice and value beneath that of a man. We have made great strides in ensuring that a woman gains equal rights to her male counterpart. We have broken the chains women wore to the stove, we have since become woke and understood that a woman can earn equal pay and can aspire to be anything she deems fit. The glass ceiling has been broken and a woman can walk into a board room and raise her voice to speak on national issues. Feminism has taken a seat at the table and is a national debate. Governments are ensuring there is equal representation for both sexes. These strides have been achieved by women who dared challenge the status quo. Women who today stand as an emblem of hope and it forever remains our responsibility to fight forward and ensure that one day, their fight for equality will not just be half-realized but a true reflection of our society. That the equality we speak of is not a textbook dialogue, but an engraved part of our everyday reality.
For starters, the double standards that are placed on women. That a man can have his fill and ensure that he goes after his ambitions unaltered, unhindered and no one dares ask the question, how he will he raise a family, have a wife, look after a household and still invest sufficient time into a flourishing career. The questions a man is asked with regards to his gender and ambitions are extremely different from that of a woman.
My question is simply this, is it not both a man and woman who build a home? Yet, when the topic of ambition is braced, a man’s ambition is never I =n question, yet that of a woman is?
Is that then not a double standard in itself?
“We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls you can have ambition but not too much otherwise, you will threaten the man” – Chimamanda Adichie
The biological makeup of a man is that of providing and a woman nurturing. Yet, I would think that both a man and a woman raise children and have a shared responsibility for building a home. How then, does a woman earnestly seek to break societal barriers and live out her ambition and potential, if at every single turn she is asked how her ambition can cripple her ability to build a home?
The discussion needs to be about the equal responsibility of both a man and woman towards a home, and not made to lean solely on the woman and thus disenable her ambitions.
*Mavis Braga Elias is a Civil Engineer by qualification and a Marketing Officer by profession. A philanthropist of heart and founder of the EM Love Foundation. She won the Vivid Philanthropist award in 2015 and the Queens Leaders Awards 2018. Find her on Twitter -@mavisbraga
2019-08-21 07:50:59 | 10 months ago