A while ago, I said FEMINISM WAS OVERRATED, not unnecessary but overrated. Why do I think it is necessary? Asides the obvious victimization of women in the early days, I think true feminism transcends beyond women.
Feminism should be a fight for male and females but done under the umbrella of women as mothers and future mothers. Women fighting for the mutual respect for both sexes. Women fighting not just for the women but for the men. Whether or not we like it, the fight for feminism has been taken up by some ignorant people as an excuse to be disrespectful to the men. Feminism at the moment (for those who truly understand the cause like Chimamanda Adiche, Michelle Obama, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, etc.) includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. The question is, when you establish this, do you teach the women what to do to keep those opportunities or make it worthwhile.
I feel sometimes that it was the struggle to get these opportunities that made women value their opportunities, make the best of it and be exceptional. People like Oprah, Condoleezza Rice, Chimamanda, Genevieve and many others are good examples. I respect the rights of women but while you are teaching the women to fight for their rights, teach them to have respect for the men too. Respect is not expressed by kneeling down every morning to greet your husband, it transcends beyond that. As a matter of fact respect is not determined by that. Respect is expressed via spoken and unspoken words, visible and invisible actions. Simple things like understanding the concept of boundaries, privacy, opinions, perspectives, office hierarchy, etc. are ways of showing mutual respect.
The feminism I stand for demands mutual respect for both genders, meaning none should be preferred over the other. It also demands that people should be judged based on competences not gender. You know very well that there are some job positions that demand your attention at all times and if a married woman is given this position and she gets pregnant, maternity/post-natal leave is necessary and the company would not want to disturb her because they understand how important it is for her to take care of herself or her new born child but the company suffers especially if she is difficult to replace. Another issue that arises is that of married women and jobs that require you to work late at night or directly with a male boss. Would your husband be comfortable with it? Can you handle the pressure? What about your kids? Sometimes as a single lady, you may be faced with sexual assault if special liking is taken towards you as a result of the very long hours you and your boss spend together working on projects daily. These are the things companies evaluate in their head before putting out vacancies and specifying the preferred gender. Sometimes it’s all in the interest of the woman.
If you are exceptional however, codes could be broken for you and the way you present yourself would also determine how you would be treated. Don’t use your seduction power to get a job because you’d never be truly valued (except sexually of course and that will never last). Reject sexual advances too. If you are truly good at what you do, it will be the company’s loss not yours. If you are not good enough find a way to improve yourself. Be relevant. Your gender is not an issue if you are good, excellent or exceptional at your chosen field.
While you are busy fighting for your rights to everything, think of your kids and ask yourself, what would be my standpoint if I gave birth to sons and daughters? How we are now, is based on how we grew up. Charity begins at home. If Ikenna (your son) is carrying 40Litres of water give Nkechi (your daughter) 40Litres of water to carry too. They’ll both grow up knowing that no one is weaker or more important than the other . Teach them respect for elders. Stop the whole “male-child” craze. People like Oprah, Beyonce and many more have taught us that you do not have to be a male child to pass the family name on. Teach your sons how to treat a woman and your daughter how to treat a man. While you’re fighting to secure the rights of women, fight for the men too. Treat people as individuals not as “gender-specific beings”.
Women are strong and we do not have to prove this to anyone, even the men.
Most importantly, RESPECT YOURSELF and be RESPECT WORTHY. If you are, people will respect you. Only you can teach people how to treat you.
PS: This post is for men and women.