Why do we celebrate marriage and not graduation?

I have expressed my disdain for people who constantly question my future marriage date but have never been interested in my academic or career accomplishments and goals.

I have expressed my disdain for people who constantly question my future marriage date but have never been interested in my academic or career accomplishments and goals.

I read an article recently where the writer, who was a woman, was attacking other women who choose to be stay-at- homes and how society celebrates marriage like it’s the greatest achievement for a woman.

 

I did not agree with her on the stay-at-home mother situation since I believe stay-at-home parents do a great job raising their children and it’s a tough decision to make. However, I did agree with her on the fact that women who choose to not have a family at a young age and instead decide to focus on their careers and other things of interest are not celebrated.

 

It angers me that people will never take me fully serious until I have a ring on my finger and have had a child or two. I have witnessed many of my colleagues get married while working in Rwanda and the attention they receive is just outstanding.

 

You are officially an adult and can sit at the big girl table; you are a woman and no longer a girl even at the age where I’m pretty sure you are way past your prime. In Kinyarwanda it is even worse “n’umukobwacyangwaumugore?”

I’m pretty sure my life experiences and years on this earth excluding marriage do make me a woman and not the fact that cows have been exchanged and I officially belong to another man.

In Rwanda, you will hear about a lot of women leaders but there are always accompanying questions such as; Is she married? Who is her husband? Does she have children? I wonder how she balances home and work. I feel bad for her husband... They would never ask these questions about male leaders and I believe as women we have to start demanding different criteria to be judged upon.

We have to stop judging women according to this criteria because it is my belief that this is the primary reason you have young women at the tender age of 20 or 21 getting married to their first ever boyfriend without even finishing university. I completely understand if you are in love and if you are ready but what is the rush? Why not slow down and get to know the man you will spend the rest of your life with? 

Anyway, I am not here to judge I just wish our society celebrated women traveling on their own, going to school abroad, getting a great job, finishing school - the same way they went all out for weddings. Families will go broke trying to have the best wedding but will not let their daughter go to Cape Town or even Kampala or go to school in Nairobi. Why not ‘break your bank’ for her dreams but instead ‘break your bank’ for her to have the best gusaba people will talk about forever?  

My wish is simply that we start being aware of how far we still have to go and the harsh standards we as Rwandan women have to live by. Yes there are double standards and sexism but our culture and our society is better than that so let’s start living that way.

So ladies, are you okay with the current status quo or would you also like to see change? Please share your thoughts!

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