As a mother-to-be, Anne recently became even more aware of the care-taking role women are expected to master. “Am I pessimistic? No. Do I believe that my daughter is going to live her life in a perfectly non-genderised society? No.”Anne
By being a part of today’s society, women’s personal and professional lives are affected by inequalities. As a woman alive today, I don’t see why or how things would be any different for me personally. Take the wage gap for instance. Even though I work in culture, where progress and transparency are keywords, the majority of top-level jobs still go out to men, whereas there’s a larger number of women working in the field.
Gender politics are all around us, sometimes very much in your face, often more subtle. Walking through the streets of our cities offers an enlightening perspective on how public space is predominantly a male one, not in the least because it is designed to function that way. Think of public outdoor sports infrastructure. You’ll see football fields and basketball courts. Sports that are generally practiced more by men, or at least, considered to be masculine. Leisure activities that target women tend to occur behind closed doors more often.
Think of street names. I am not aware of the exact numbers, but I would be surprised if more than 10 percent of all streets were named after women. Having obtained the right to vote, the right to study much later than men, I feel we simply cannot deny the fact that throughout history women received fewer opportunities and by extension, less notoriety as opposed to men. Are you able to come up with the names of six female poets? Or scientists? For those willing to accept gender-based inequality as a reality, there’s more than sufficient academic research to support that statement.
For a very long time, I believed that my parents had a reasonably fair repartition of tasks, but soon after their divorce, I realised my mom was carrying the entire mental charge of raising three kids. It is my belief that – though maybe unwillingly – we reproduce the stereotypes we got familiar with while growing up. Do not get me wrong though, how people wish to organize their household is their choice to make, and theirs alone. I am pregnant with my first child. When she will be born, I will have the right to take three months of work, my partner is entitled to merely ten days. Having a uterus, however, doesn’t necessarily make me a better fit for caretaking. Yet that is what seems to be expected from me as a mother-to-be.
When I consider the life my grandmother led, how things were different for my mother and what it is like for me to be a thirty-something woman today, I do see how our Western-European system is changing its positioning on the different sexes. But it’s a painfully slow process. I guess a lot of those with decision-making powers still benefit a great deal from a patriarchal society. When I found out that I was pregnant with a girl, I couldn’t help but think, “Fuck. A part of our education will be to harness this creature against some of the realities of everyday life.” Am I pessimistic? No. Do I believe that my daughter is going to live her life in a perfectly non-genderised society? No. I am not an activist myself. My entire support goes out to those who are while I try my very best to make a small difference on a personal level.