Gender inequality has existed in our society since as long as anyone can remember, perhaps even before the ‘civilized society’ was formed. Why is this the case?
Did no one speak up against this abrasive inequality before? Well, actually, they did. According to research, the first woman to write about the empowerment of women was Christen de Pizan back in the 15th century who wrote Epitre au Dieu d’Amour (Epistle to the God of Love). Obviously, this is the earliest recorded one and there might be several women even before this who were simply trying to be equal to their male counterparts, so why is it that centuries of women fighting for equality has still not abolished the patriarchal system of our society.
Patriarchy can be compared to a big bad villain, as long as it exists people will continue to be oppressed and only when it gets terminated is when there will be resolve and humans can actually move forward with time and not be stuck in the same circles trying to solve the problems.
So, for those of who are a bit confused, let me explain what patriarchy is. Patriarchy is a kind of a social system in which majority of the power is held by men, everything in that system be it from culture to even politics favors men, which consequentially also means that it goes against women and withholds opportunities from them.
Women have been struggling in almost every field of life owing to the patriarchy.
Here are a few things that women have to face:
- Men are always favored almost everywhere. This could be about getting jobs, leadership roles and much more.
- Since the whole idea of patriarchy encourages the men of the household to be the bread earners of the family, families especially in the economically weaker sections lean towards their sons getting a good education rather than their daughters, as they are expected to be caretakers of the household after marriage.
- If two people, one man and one woman have the exact same kind of qualifications, skills or experiences, it is more likely that a company would hire the man. There are multiple excuses to go along with it, such as ‘the woman will get pregnant and take a break,’ ‘the woman will have to divide her time as she has to look after the house too.’ All these assumptions prove to be very difficult for a woman to be successful in her career.
- There are so many men that get away with rape, domestic abuse, sexual harassment all because the society is absolutely busy blaming the victim of these crimes instead.
- So many women face extreme mental health issues because of the pressures and standards put on them.
This is enough reason for why should we focus on abolishing the system of patriarchy once and for all, but that’s not the entirety of it.
Have you ever thought about how patriarchy not only affects women but also destroys men?
Of course, the concept of patriarchy is constructed in a way to be beneficial for men, and they do have privilege because of it. Nonetheless, they do get harmed in some ways, albeit by their own gender. Here are a few examples:
- The whole concept of men being leaders insinuates that men are supposed to be strong. However, the whole concept of strength for men is so deeply twisted that somehow it has become synonymous with having lack of emotions. Men are taught from an early age to not ‘cry like a girl’ and show their emotions, which leads to them constantly building up emotions in their head with no way of letting it out, which either gives them some serious mental health issues or makes them turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse.
- Usually when a bunch of women come forward and talk about their sexual assault stories, there will always be a group of men wanting to play the ‘oppressed’ and speak about how men get raped too. Yes, they do. But somehow this topic only comes up when women are speaking about their problems. Many a times if a man actually comes forward with their story, their laughed at and ridiculed. A lot of men are told that they must have enjoyed it, which makes them terrified of ever speaking up against anything happening to them because they would be deemed as less ‘manly.’
- Men who are interested in things that are traditionally female happen to hide their interests because they are constantly discouraged from pursuing any of those things. So many people would label them as ‘gay,’ as if it is virtually impossible for straight men to ever diversify their interests.
So, now that we know that patriarchy is destructive to everyone in the world, we need to take our best efforts to stop it. Fortunately, there is a movement going on since a couple hundred years that is just made for this purpose. ‘Feminism’ sure you’ve heard of it. Do not be scared of the word, it is for the betterment of all and the collective progress of society.