Grew up with four brothers in a male dominated neighbourhood with the most chauvinistic person that I’ve ever met …my own mother. Gave up ballet to follow football just to join in. Was a real tomboy, would hang out with the boys, never afraid of critters or fireworks and rode motorbikes.
Worked three jobs in order to travel. Got a job at the library straight from school keen to become a librarian but that very year they decided to only apprentice men as women might get pregnant and leave. Then tried to get a house loan to buy a nice shack by the river and although I earned enough to pay the mortgage there was no loan without a male guarantor.
So with job and home dreams shattered I booked my passage to London on a freight ship, the start of my big adventure. But a week before departure they called to offer a full refund. They took only fifteen passengers, the other fourteen were male, and all the crew were too. A cousin talked me into taking his dream overland trip to London.
And so it goes on … worked mainly with men in my professional career as bosses, peers and clients. Worked for years in child protection, adoption and juvenile delinquency so exposed to the worst we can do. Had to be twice as good but always paid less and never entitled to housing in remote locations.
Society and my parents demanded I marry well, become a good housewife and raise young ones. Had some pretty special men in my life and they all saw me as the mother of their children but I knew this wouldn’t work. I would never let my child be with others as abuse comes from family or close friends, seldom ever a stranger. Would have been a total helicopter parent so avoided that pitfall and failed to fulfil societal expectations.
So on International Women’s Day we might pause to recall all the challenges and biases we’ve faced. It made us much stronger yet we allow men to make the laws and choose which ones they will enforce, still leaving the vulnerable unprotected. Their wages are higher, they get the promotions and all the fringe benefits. Entitled they get to do as they please … they dominate politics, religions, business, sports, movies and families. Sure some women achieve too but what toll does that take?
Women are not equal to men we are stronger and more capable! We conceive, give birth, raise families and run households; we endure rape, abuse, put downs and much more. And sadly too many others suffer with us … our children and minorities of every kind – those of different race, religion, physical or mental challenges, or gender complications.
So if you’re a privileged white man think deeply about this – how do you treat the women in your life? With love, respect and tenderness? Encourage and support your partner, daughters and female colleagues? I’m not radical or different just your average person who loves men to bits but also know the drill.
This is the longest post I’ve written, not meant to offend and hoping it might lead to a bit more understanding?
Daily Prompt: Ruminate