I am a man who feels greatly for the women. Pouncing from the love I bear for my mother and the hope I aspire for my sisters. Fifty years apart and yet I hold no tangible guarantee that my mother’s fate will not echo in my child’s yet unfolding destiny.
I have lived to witness the struggle over power, dominance and submission. I have seen the tearless and silent cries of confusion. I lived through the scuffle of fitting-in, conformity, tapering and taming down into societal expectation, both spoken and not. From what I have witnessed, I have learned that there is a silenced voice that needs to be empowered.
Decades after decades, this mockery of equality and equity for women amuses us. Oh, let’s cut the pretence that it’s a racial issue. My Pakistani mother is not the sole woman who submitted wrongfully to her husband and had a fist or two raised on her. Australia accounts an average of at least one woman a week killed by a partner or former partner, of those women, more than half have children in their care. In the US, about 4 in 5 victims of intimate partner violence from 1994 to 2010 were females and 1 in 4 women aged 18 and older have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Let’s also stop the charade of socio-economic issues as root to the inequality and inequity. We all have read or seen Hollywood actress treated differently, simply because they are actresses to begin with and not an actor; a female. And for crying out loud, gender inequality is not prevalent in under-developed or developing countries. It is also a big issue for developed countries like the U.S. in fact; one in four U.S. families is headed by a single mother living in poverty. The silenced voice that needs to be empowered is a global yearning.
Snap up! Open your eyes. Stretch your minds. Women globally remain deluded in the sham of the coveted equality and equity. Many women continue to struggle over power, dominance and submission to a male counterpart. Generally, most societies are patriarchal where machismo and bravado is on high. The man has to take it all and hold all; including a woman, treating her almost as property. Then again, many women wrestle in fitting-in, conforming, tapering and taming down. Women cannot be too strong physically lest they are “Butch”. They cannot be opinionated nor does strong-willed cause being so make them bossy and “know-it-all”. Women have to be fine like a lady, soft as a feather. Moms should not be going out with girlfriends. And can be judged whores if they meet a male friend. A mom has to do the house chores take care of the kids and the husband; and pull through things. And yes, I have heard a few friends say women are damned for being single, damned for being married, damned for being a mother; and hell-damned for being a single mom!
It is not a micro-issue to be laughed at. It is not miniscule. It is a large prevailing issue that women globally confront with every single minute. The disparity of being a man and a woman exist. It continues to be a shadow lurking. It is not much of where she is located. It is not about what she does for a living. It is not whether she has the money. The silenced voice that needs to be empowered is a serious global matter. Women globally continue to live through the disparity of gender because societies allow it. Societies separate the man and the woman. Changing the societal landscape may take a long time, but we can take our first steps now.
Educating girls is a good start. But we need to re-educate the boys too. We need to educate both of them not just with academics. We need to educate them about being an equal of each other whilst being different. We need to educate them about their differences. We should teach them to appreciate these differences. Then, we need to educate them about complimenting each other’s strength and bridging each other’s weakness. We should teach them collaboration and synergy. We should provide and distribute resources as needed. We need to re-create a mind-set. We have to re-create a society where women are acknowledged, embraced and accepted by men to be as they are –an ally, an equal, and contributors to a developed society. By then, the silenced voice that needs to be empowered is finally heard.