Give and Take for a Better World – “Balance for Better” (Part 2) –
The Part 1 of this article was an invitation to look inward into our patterns of thinking and our beliefs if we are to make changes to achieve a more balanced and better world where females and males equally make their contribution to building our nation.
This second part of the entire piece discusses the place and role of the family as regards gender balancing for better. Keep an open mind as you go through the line of thinking shared below. We learn everyday and the things we read and expose our minds to are suppose to help us improve ourselves and make life better for others.
Please read on:
We all come from a family. But are there not cases where dad, mum, or grandma preferred a boy child to the girl child that arrived? This cloud hangs over the child that she even gets to know it as she grows up. We urge you to accept her. Don’t let her keep wishing she came as a boy just to please you. Your treatment of her is affecting her self-esteem and self-confidence. Give her your assuring words and behaviours to let her know that she is welcomed, loved and fully accepted as she is.
Another expression of family expectation as it relates to gender is where female and male children are treated differently. Males are given all the liberty, while females are scrutinized and thoroughly monitored. That old style of parenting is over where boys only do this and girls only do that. In our age and time, please know that things are becoming different.
For instance, both male and female wards need to engage in domestic chores. When a male child is not domesticated in the home, certain wisdom for living is missing. Besides, the females in his life suffer a great deal and pay the price. His mother (his first victim), his sisters, his girlfriend and ultimately his wife, bear the brunts of a slanted understanding of love, care and support. What do I mean?
You love your wife, but not when she is labouring with chores. Same thing even when she is pregnant, she is still overburdened with chores and family expectations. As a man, that little that you can do to give her some relief is neglected because your ego, as you know it, must not be tempered with – “This is her job; let her do it and keep doing it. I mustn’t become a houseboy. I am a man.” No, this should not be the attitude because it simple feels like your love for her and the expression of it is at your convenience. This does not point to a loving balance in marriage.
To the Man
Little reliefs that you can sometimes or more often offer in the home as a man:
Offering some relief to her on a daily basis really does not take your dignity away from you. That’s screwed thinking. You can take your own plates off the table after eating and get them to the kitchen. Washing your own plate isn’t below your dignity.
You can do some clearing and clean up around the house as the kids watch you. You are thereby teaching them humility and the dignity of labour and service to your own family and community.
You can bath your kids as a way to relief the woman. You can get the kids dressed up. You can help them with their home work. It is not below your dignity. You can leave the laptop and phone (especially) alone and aside for some time and just be with the kids; engage your own children in conversations and teach them that their voice matter. You can read to and with the kids and help them improve their maths, spellings and reading skills, outside home works.
We learn everyday and the things we read and expose our minds to are suppose to help us improve ourselves and make life better for others.-LinEllah
You can go out with the kids to fun places without spending much. Those fun memories last a life time. Good enough selfies and photo-taking at no cost accentuate the memorable moments. You can relief her and go pick the children from school. You can give her some break by fully occupying the kids while she takes some rest.
You can pass by the market and get some food stuff or home items. It does not take away your dignity and respect. You can be with the kids while she goes out for an important engagement.
Lots of woman in many homes suffer from carrying out all these and lots more alone. Here, we’ve not even mentioned the cooking and regular home chores. These all look simple yet it all got to be done by someone.
Interestingly, the male ego is accepted and excused, while the female is expected to stoop as low as possible, offering her services unconditionally even when highly inconvenienced. And in addition, she is sometimes also a provider and breadwinner in the home. The home has to be fed whether he has money for food or not.
These distorted ways of thinking and acting need to change and it starts with you. Balance here calls for the males to step up more and go beyond their macho stereotypes and patriarchal beliefs about their relationship to a woman.
There is need to empathize and see the woman as a human being too. She maybe overlaboured, overburdened, lonely and depressed and those who live with her may not know. She is expected to continue carrying on duties, chores and responsibilities, and serve everyone as usual without slacking. But who is really looking out for her own needs? She has learnt to go unheard.
Certainly, this can be the experience of any human person, male or female, yet, it is very often the normal life of many a woman. Men are not superhuman either. They too need to be loved, honoured and accepted. However in many cases, the woman naturally sees this as her obligation towards him. She too needs this commitment offered her in return especially in very little and simple ways.
Again, in the family, the female’s opportunity for education may be sacrificed for the male to get educated. There are families where this still happens. She is pushed to learn a trade sometimes with the intention of raising funds for school. In some cases, it never arrives there. Instead, she gets pregnant and there, family responsibilities begin.
There is need to eliminate the gender disparity in primary and secondary schools. Especially in the rural area, that gap needs to be closed. Girls and boys alike need to and have a right to education.
(To be continued in part 3 of 3)
- Linda Asimole Ellah
Linda A. Ellah is passionate about gender issues and shares her thoughts towards a better world. She is Founder and Coordinator of The Living Woman, a platform for women to focus on their personal growth towards fulfilling their purpose as they engage intentionally in their own growth journey daily. You can reach her on (+234 814 6779 226).