Feast for Thought

Not pontificating. Only trying to bat on the side of the environment. And ethics. And simple living. And slowing down. (And trying to learn and practise before preaching or teaching...)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Gender Balance - When?

I am no women's lib advocate or activist, neither am I a fanatic feminist. I simply believe that in matters of home and house the husband (father) and the wife (mother) can and should seamlessly ease into the one another's role whenever the need arises.
So I read with interest a very well-written piece in Deccan Herald "The Story so Far", which was forwarded to me by several persons - a banking professional cousin, a mother of two, a dutiful daughter-in-law, an understanding daughter, and a patiently tolerant wife - all rolled into one, (of course!).
The story depicts, very precisely, the typical urban household where the lady pursues a career and manages the home, with nil / half-hearted / reluctant / whole-hearted participation from her life partner (The degree of participation being directly proportional to her good luck).
I quote this line from the article: "It will take time, possibly a few more generations, for the equation to get balanced".
Here is the gist of the messages that we exchanged:
"If You get Deccan Herald read the supplement 'Living'. The first story sounds so familiar"
"Thanks, Just did. Well said! Does that mean we will need 'several rebirths' before we can hope for balance? :("
"Seems so!"
"And that's assuming all are in the 21st century. Some Adams are still.....Adams?"
"...and will always be"

I welcome inputs from evolved Adams and Eves.

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Blogger Pradeep said...

One can compare only comparables. Comparing man and woman or boy and girl is like comparing apple and orange, or any two fruits for that matter. We need both men and women.

Some times we read too much into gender when the issue has nothing to do with it. The issue must have something to do with a personality trait for example; and blaming gender becomes a very easy way out.

I have seen people make this flippant comment: "O, women are like that..." or "Men can't be any different..." These are easy overgeneralisations on gender. It leads us nowhere, and no wonder debate over gender equality never ends!

16 April, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Yes, Pradeep, you have brought out a very valid point.
The more mature one is, better can he or she appreciate the spouse's role and lend the right kind of support.

16 April, 2008  
Blogger Indrani said...

you are tagged.
Please fill the questionaire and continue.

19 April, 2008  
Blogger Nanditha Prabhu said...

i completely agree with pradeep. There is no need for any equation and comparison ...only when one tries to be like the other does clashes arise.what one needs is self esteem whatever gender he/ she belongs.

20 April, 2008  
Blogger Deepa Krishnan said...

Swarna, thanks for leading me to that article.

To working women, I have only one thing to say - domestic help! Get one, two, or twenty, male or female, but make sure you get that hot cup of coffee when you come back home, and you don't end up picking up the socks. Money is a great solver of a working woman's problems. At least the housework and cooking is something you should outsource as quickly as you can.

Children are a different cup of tea. Me, I went through a lot of frustration and bitterness in the early years of parenting when I simply couldn't understand why my husband, my MBA batchmate, buddy, etc couldn't wake up to reality and do everything that I did in terms of childminding. It changed me, those years of waking early and sleeping fitfully, resenting everything that my husband stood for...male freedom, generations of unfair gender relations, and so on. All the fighting and arguing in the world didn't change things.

With more maturity came more understanding, and a dare I say it - resignation. You can only change things so much, I told myself. Focus on the things you can accomplish, and enjoy your moments of closeness with the child. Forget about whether the equation is perfectly equal or balanced in terms of childminding, I told myself.

Funnily for me, the wheel has completely turned a full circle in my household. Now I see that he is a totally different person, attentive and caring to his daughter, ready to do anything, investing time and effort into parenting. Between the two of us, it is I who don't have time for homely stuff. It has finally dawned on me that different people mature into different things at differing points of time, and the "tula" balances itself quite well, but at different time points.

I've also understood that men have different sorts of pressures and problems. They can't cop out of the rat-race, unlike women. Their problems are not about gender equality, but about bearing the societal responsibility of providing for the family. My husband has stood by the family as a rock-solid provider, even in times of career trouble. I have always had the safety net of being able to take softer career options if I wanted to.

In the final analysis, if it all balances out, it makes the practical basis for a successful marriage. That sounds calculated, but to be truly successful, I think even marriage needs to have balanced give and take, in terms of money as well as physical and mental effort.

07 May, 2008  
Blogger Swarna said...

Deepa, You put it so well! Given the different roles and responsibilities each spouse shoulders, all I suggest is the 'comfort and support at home' factor.
'different people mature into different things at differing points of time' - excellently put, and any frustration arises out of (un)reasonable expectations.

07 May, 2008  

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