Two weeks ago, we celebrated girls and women on March 8. Being a woman myself, I usually think about the changing role of women in today’s society and about the not-so-much changing perception that the society has about this changing role. In our country, the role of women has traditionally been restricted to that of a housewife and as a caregiver of the whole family. The role of breadwinner has traditionally been that of the husband, a role which I believe is gradually taken by women. Although women these days have increasingly taken the role of breadwinner or at least earn as much as the husband, women are required to do all the housework ranging from cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children. It makes you think that women have the right genes for these types of works! A Ted talk made by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie about feminism rightly speaks to my heart. In her talk, Adichie asks why the famous chefs of our world are men if we think that women are meant to do all the cooking in the house.
I strongly believe that we have come to a time in which women should be appreciated more than ever. Maybe you have watched a short film about an Ethiopian stay-at-home mom whose daily struggle to give her family a happy life goes unappreciated by her husband. The film shows the typical day of a housewife, who, from dawn to dusk is occupied with the task of feeding her husband and children breakfast, cleaning the house, washing the smaller children who didn’t go to school and cooking dinner for when the husband and the other children come back home. But one day, when the husband brought work colleagues home and was asked by the later what his wife did for a living, his answer was ‘nothing’. His answer is a reminder to the little or no appreciation that we all give to our stay at home moms. It further makes me think about the much greater appreciation that should be given to working moms who not only spend their days strive day in day out to bring food to the table, but should also take care of all the housework.
Nowadays, women are becoming more educated and earn a much a better pay than they used to in previous generations. The sad thing is that many men find such women as a threat. Particularly when it comes to relationships and marriages, many men do not want to deny that they would not like the fact that their girlfriends or wives are better educated or earn better than they do. Much time is needed before we get rid of the chauvinist mentality of men thinking they are superior to the other sex. In my opinion, only smart men would understand that, if women are well educated and well paid, it is for the benefit and prosperity of the whole family. If a woman is well educated, I strongly believe she is better positioned to set a good example to her children than the man would. And this is simply because women are generally emotionally closer and attached to their children and therefore are better positioned to have more influence on the later. So, as the role of women is changing, I believe it is also high time that the perception about women changes accordingly!