Monday, December 17, 2012

Re-thinking Gender Equality

Re-thinking gender equality

Thursday, 13 December 2012 00:00
Johnson Ali Mikuku
Zimbabwe Herald

ON December 6, 2012, the world woke up to a breathtaking and heart-rending story of a “husband” from Lyon (France) who “has become the first man in France to take his wife’s surname under a new gender equality law”’

The paper (Telegraph) further states that the change in the law was published in the French government’s Official Journal in October 2011 and received little media attention.

It is very unfortunate that the media overlooked this development considering that it adds a new dimension to the gender discourse worldwide. Nevertheless, looking at this “new law”, one is persuaded to re-think the issue of gender equality.

While acknowledging the fact that discrimination against women has been going on for thousands of years and that it is a painful truth desperately in need of reform, this should not, however, be turned into a ploy for further abuse and oppression of women and disintegration of the family fabric.

While the need to craft harmonised gender-sensitive laws on the national and international level need not be overemphasised, there is need to guard against over zealousness that comes with wanting to be seen to be doing more in the name of gender equality.

Surely the so-called new law in France which allows men to adopt their women’s surname upon marriage would actually be interpreted by many as another form of oppression against women and family from cultural, ethical, moral and religious perspectives. Such a law is not the best we can do in restoring the previously trampled-upon rights to the women of the world.

In fact, this new law in France is a tip of the iceberg of how the world has lost the plot in gender equity and equality.

It is a demonstration of how, in recent years and with the trend of societies’ economic growth concurrent with calling for the presence of women in the area of social and economic activities, a worrisome plot is being hatched ruining their motherly role.

This plot is trying to infuse the idea that the motherly role is the main factor leading to the backwardness of women and society.

This enmity with the most valuable inner gem of women is so embedded in the modern world that the wish for swapping reproduction capabilities and fiddling with women’s biology is now considered a central core of the “Gender Equality Movement”.

However, the fact that a large number of women are willing to pay millions of dollars in order to remove medical and biological impediments so that they can have children proves that the aforementioned core has no genuine support for women.

As a matter of fact, the world today is only paying lip service concerning women’s rights and has not been able to restore the lost rights of marriage and motherhood and articulate these two appropriately.

Another mistake being made by the proponents of gender equality is the confusion of reproduction with motherhood, as if it is the only reproductive characteristic of women that make them mothers and they do not have any responsibility to their children once they are born.

It seems that modern humanity has a fundamental problem in realising the shortcomings of the idea of “making women similar to men in every aspect possible”.

This has resulted in what modern humanity has always feared: a manly understanding of life devoid of womanly and motherly subtleties and finesse!

The ever increasing efforts made by those who claim that they are after the attainment of women rights in bringing the roles of men and women close to each other is an example of disturbing the balance and equilibrium in families.

In many cases people are looked at individually and out of the family context in the documents resulting from international conferences.

For example, in the document of the World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995, there were more than 200 references made to words like gender, gender equality, gender streamlining, gender diversity, whereas, there was no mention of words like “husbands” and “wife” in this document which is 121 pages long.

It seems that if this trend is continued, the world will face animosity among spouses, fomentation of corruption and the replacement of genuine family values with unprincipled relationships.

The world today is witnessing women who are unwittingly after gender equality and who want to have similar manly roles.

This change in roles is exhibited in power struggles, paradoxes in progress and competition, models for role proximity, tensions in taking care of the children and communication difficulties between husbands and wives.

What has now emerged on the globe as the main area is creating disorders for families is the reckless encouragement and insistence on the integration of the roles of the two sexes without any clear reason.

Naturally, the unreasonable expectations for the high efficiency of any of the sexes in playing the roles that are not based on their instincts or innate potentials will result in their distance from the balance and equilibrium.

Amid this, the family itself as the place for performing distinct responsibilities and duties is changed into a place for a clash of roles and tensions that couples bring about for an endless competition without any obvious reason or outcome.

The irrational ideal of “man-like woman” is a fruitless slogan, which has failed to create its own self-claimed utopia for women where there is equality between men and women. In the modern world, relationships have become complicated so that there would be a need for lots of specialist.

In France and in the year 2007, the number of births of legitimate children was lower than that of illegitimate ones. A rising number of men and women are living together out of marriage.

The writer Johnson Ali Mikuku is a social commentator. He writes in his personal

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