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The Subtle Struggles of Women under the ‘Woman Empowerment Mantra’

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We live in an era that has seen more feminists, egalitarians and those who have no idea about what they believe in, voice concerns as to how much the woman in this modern society has been or is not empowered enough. However what baffles me are the answers shared by most people from either divide whenever the ‘who is the empowered woman’ question surfaces.

Gone are the days when women were negligent of certain things in the house. A few years ago, there were women who had no idea on how to switch on the television, change remote batteries or the house bulbs, connect the electronics to the power sockets and even kill a rat should the rodent invade the house and this is because they entirely depended on their men and there were demarcated roles and requirements each party played or fulfilled. Now, majority of the women are the ones buying the house appliances and fixing the faulty ones in their homes.

Here is a society that is thriving on modern influence while still expecting a woman to uphold, respect and live by the traditions our fore-fathers set.

Ask any man what they think of women empowerment and you will get explanations such as, ‘Women are now more educated than men, they can get easier employment and better jobs than the men, women have lower cut off points to the universities as compared to the men yet they sit for the same examinations, they this and that goes on and on…’

The reality is, that is not really empowerment. Because, the high number of girls recorded in primary school ends up retrogressing as school progresses and in high school, some girls are either married of, drop out of school due to either poverty and in some cases, so as to have the other siblings, mostly boys, keep up with school or finish school and or pregnancy. Hardly do boys drop out of school due to impregnating a girl child.

Secondly, in many families, regardless of how modern or traditional you claim to be, the girl child is still taught more when it comes to house chores than the boy child. In a normal household, you will find a girl, probably helping in the kitchen while the boy is probably pressured to finish up with the homework or is studying or even relaxing. A girl has to learn both the home and school stuff. Doubt it? Just check who gets to be sent to handle what house chores in homes that have daughters. What’s disdainful is the wrath a woman who is considered empowered suffers for lacking in the other areas the society expects her to tick.

With people dishing the empowerment innuendo left, right and centre, most women are being suppressed albeit silently.

Right now, one has to take on responsibilities and awe unto a woman who finds herself with a beta man. I recently heard a man on phone loudly ask his wife, ‘Your fellow women are out of their homes making millions while you are still trying to make your small business grow, can’t you do what they are doing?’

This whole fallacy has brought an unfair competition between the woman and the man, and the woman and her fellow woman. This competition for resources, opportunities, hierarchy, titles and movements is not only bringing discomfort in families and the society but also bringing division.

Truth of the matter is, not every woman wants to be seen as an empowered woman. There are those who want to take on the super girl role and there are others who want to always be the damsel in need of saving but this whole mantra has put us all women in a pedestal where we have become a woman eat woman society.

An empowered person does not fight liberation but creates it. The modern influence has brought with it ways of helping the women catch up, but empowerment is just a term used to cover up the real issues that need to be discussed like, equal and better pay, proper reproductive health opportunities and facilities.

We need real issues addressed like can a woman decide to have a family and still maintain a career? You would be surprised how many women have to forego things. Can a woman get similar pay to a man if they do the same job? Meritocracy rather than gender play. And lastly, can a woman be who she wants to be without being considered too shallow, too much or too empowered?

It is pointless thinking that women are empowered yet majority are still grappling with issues that the jury, here being the society considers an easy win for women. #MeToo and #TimesUp have given women a voice but how loud is it for the society to hear and drop the foul cry that indeed women have been so empowered because really, have they?

Featured Image: The Standard

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