As we discussed women’s roles and attitudes at the workplace last week, let’s take it a bit closer this week - the home.
As many of us approach the age of marriage or cohabiting, one must ask themselves, what is expected of me as the woman of the home?
As women we are always told that we are expected to keep a kempt house, a fed husband and children and of course look good while doing it. Well that’s it in short. There are a lot of other details as to what makes the perfect woman.
That’s the general picture. I think it gets worse for African women, and then underneath all that, being a Rwandan woman.
What does it mean to be a good Rwandan wife?
It’s really hard as we have discussed in the past to maintain the traditional norms with the new modern developments in our society.
These days women go to school and succeed in achieving different levels of education. They then move on to full time jobs, thus homemaking and children aren’t always on the priority list of their day to day activities. I’m not saying women love their families less, it’s just that they do not have as much time as they did before and to be honest, they do not compromise their careers as much for them. They learn to balance it out but in many cases, the family suffers. I have heard of men expecting every woman to know how to cook. Like there is no question in their mind that their girlfriend does not know how to keep a home. My question is, what do women expect of their men?
Personally, I am not the best chef, however, I do know how to run a household (or at least I think I could). Does this make me a horrible housewife? Is it bad that I expect my husband to help out around the house?
My partner right now and I were talking about these gender roles our society has mapped out for us and even with his modernised mind, he admitted that yes, if we end up together, we will both be bringing in the income and we will consult each other on important decisions but that he will be the leader of the home!
I was flabbergasted because I always pictured my family as a team with my husband and I being partners. He made it clear that even if it is a team, there is always a leader.
I have no problem with him being the so-called leader; my issue is that it is not based on anything apart from him being the man. He admitted that it did sound backwards and very sexist but that is because society would expect him to deliver for his family and most importantly this is how he has been programmed since childhood. Men take care of the family.
I guess I always saw this coming, no matter the culture, men have been programmed to think this way and it will not change soon. As an African woman, I always considered myself pretty strong minded, independent, innovative and resilient in hard times, but I guess this still doesn’t count as points to be a leader.
So ladies, are you ready for him to take the reins in your home?