The ladies before our time and current time have fought and are fighting hard to ensure that gender equality exists within our country and indeed the rest of the world. There is no doubt that there is still a long way to go.
I remember being at primary school when I first heard the term ‘sexism’ and I remember even back then feeling shocked at what I heard. Girls should be as equal to boys. I was shocked because my innocence never thought any different. I was at a mixed primary school and the girls in my class could do the same work as the boys and were no slower or not as good.
I had brothers at home and lots of friends that were boys who played on the street. Boy or girl we all rode our bikes, played on the blocks, climbed the trees, whizzed down steep hills on little trucks or tractors – in fact anything with wheels.
My mum worked, my dad worked, my mum cooked, my dad cooked, the children did chores and nobody did the ironing lol… I never watched my mum slave at the kitchen sink or not have a social life of her own.
It wasn’t until I reached the age of leaving home and I left home early that I began to understand what ‘sexism’ was about and how it affected me in the scheme of things. In the big world you are not protected and I was a pretty girl. They say being pretty is something that goes in your favour but I was raised to be a pleasant girl and this has pitfalls. As a school girl, you are being jeered at by much older men and indeed I did meet an older man. Not a major difference but at the time it was a big difference. Experience of life for a young school girl is not developed enough for an older man. But an older man has that scope to sweep a young girl off her feet so much more than boys of her own age and that is a danger in itself.
The young girl becomes overwhelmed with such great attention that slowly she begins to give up everything. The older person makes her feel like she doesn’t understand things as much as he and she begins to doubt herself.
He tells her not to continue studying because she will be rubbish at doing the vocation of her choice.
He tells her to not have time with her family.
He picks the job that she should do and talks her into why she should do it.
She finds herself doing everything for his family to keep his family pleased.
He starts taking her first earnings and manages all of her money, giving her a meagre allowance.
She begins to feel the pressure from a seemingly perfect family where the woman does everything.
She has children and the pressure becomes worse. She is now not a person in her own right.
She doesn’t see it at first because she’s overwhelmed. But these are the first signs of ‘sexism’ and ‘control’
And this is the spiral to the guilty feelings that women everyday are feeling. They must ask if they want to go out. They must keep their house perfect, they must look after their man, they must raise the children perfect, and they must look perfect. It’s how many have and still continue to be conditioned. The woman is not always as equal to her partner, her rights and choices become limited as she becomes his servant and slowly dies.
While the woman is the servant in that particular type of relationship there is no trouble, everything runs smoothly. Until she stands up for herself.
I realise that in the big scheme of inspirational women throughout the country and the world that there are major and horrific horror stories. But from an average point of view. The 1950’s housewife is still existing and her rights are about the same as back then too unless she has a decent husband/partner.
I do believe that women should have a choice as to whether they are at home to look after their child or whether they should go to work. But my hopes for the future are that women who do stop at home to look after their families are respected as much as the mothers that go out of the home to work. Entitled to a bit of time off, entitled to a social life, entitled to help when she needs it, a contribution to her state pension etc… It should be seen as a job as it is indeed 24/7 and we need to keep protecting those women who choose to stay at home to raise a young family. As they could be falling into the trap above and end up with nothing.
In the words of the Manic Street Preachers…
‘If you tolerate this, then your children will be next…’