Society debate; Is the women’s emancipation drive contributing to domestic conflict?

NO! The very thought that someone can actually think that domestic conflict is something that’s caused by women’s emancipation is repugnant to me. How someone can think there is a linkage between domestic conflict and women’s emancipation is beyond me. I will argue my case beginning with the flowing fact: for as long as there has been the idea of marriage and monogamy, there has been conflict.

NO!

The very thought that someone can actually think that domestic conflict is something that’s caused by women’s emancipation is repugnant to me. How someone can think there is a linkage between domestic conflict and women’s emancipation is beyond me.

I will argue my case beginning with the flowing fact: for as long as there has been the idea of marriage and monogamy, there has been conflict.

Therefore to argue that domestic conflict is a relatively new concept- just as women’s emancipation is- is foolhardy. In fact, anyone who has lived with anyone else will testify that a bit of conflict here and there is normal.

This conflict doesn’t merely happen in marriage. Therefore blaming the international movement of women’s suffrage and emancipation for somehow causing domestic conflict is quite wrong.

However, I don’t think that this a debate about domestic conflict per se, but rather domestic conflict caused by the changing roles of women.

I can understand why some people would think that; however, I never thought a member of the ‘Sisterhood’ would ever be on that side of the argument. I do admit that that is a low blow certainly and I apologise to my colleague; however, I cannot take such an argument lying down.

Mentalities such as these go against all the progress women have made. Today, we have women doing great things in Parliament, in the armed forces, in our hospitals, in our court rooms and in our board rooms.

The prevailing situation is one that was hard fought. You might say that we aren’t debating the pros and cons of women’s rights, but the very fact that ‘domestic conflict’ is being blamed on ‘women’s emancipation’ tells me that this is a veiled attack on women’s rights.

I wonder whether the people, who think that conflict in the home is a result of women’s rights to their own bodies, rights to employment and suffrage, aren’t yearning for the ‘good old days’ where women were merely chattel to be traded and exploited.

While it might seem ridiculous today to think of a woman is a piece of property, it wasn’t always so.  

Ancient Hindu scriptures describe a good wife as someone “whose mind, speech and body are kept in subjection”. In ancient Athens women were always minors and subject to a male, such as their father, brother or some other male kin.

A women’s consent in marriage was not generally thought to be necessary and women were obliged to submit to the wishes of her parents or husband

According to English Common Law from the 12th Century onward all property which a wife held at the time of a marriage became a possession of her husband. French married women suffered from restrictions on their legal capacity which were removed only in 1965.

In Rwanda, just a few years back, a married woman wasn’t allowed to sign some contracts without her husbands consent.

Thank goodness that those days are long gone. But the problem is this; despite the gains of the Women’s Lib movement, some men are having a hard time. I want to reiterate. ‘Some’ men are having a hard time because of traditional gender roles that are being tampered with.

However, I think that these type of men are a bit like French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau who thought that it was the order of nature for woman to obey men.

Men, women don’t have an obligation to iron our shirts, cook your food or even bear your children. If they do so, it is because they want to. That old sense of male entitlement should be washed away with these seasonal rains. 

This sense of entitlement is the only reason that there might be conflict. However, if a man realises that his wife has a choice in the matter then the conflict is dead and buried.

I am not naïve enough to think that some men aren’t unhappy about their wives having jobs and lives that don’t revolve around them, but I’m saying that those men are immature and patently selfish. Shame on them.

sunnyntayombya@newtimes.co.rw

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