On the tail end of Women’ Month, I ask one more thing from parents and guardians. Raise your children with one, moral code — a moral code that applies to all — regardless of gender.
Talk to your daughters. Tell them it will be hard to make changes happen. But that hard should not deter them. Because everything is hard.
Scaling Southeast Asia’s highest peak is hard. Walking 118 kilometers through Galicia is hard. Jumping off a cliff in Pokhara is hard. Whitewater rafting on Class 5 rapids on the Zambezi River is hard. But so is accepting a diagnosis of cancer.
The secret to getting the difficult done is to approach every task in life on the premise that it will be hard. This is how you manage your expectations, how you conquer the odds and how, in the end, you win the war.
What are our goals? Gender parity. Equal opportunity. Justice and equity. One moral code.
Talk to your sons. Tell them to watch their backs. Tell them to avoid dodgy alleys at night. Tell them to be wary of unsavory characters. Tell them to dress, speak and act appropriately, at all times. Tell them to treat everyone with dignity and respect.
And then — go and tell your daughters the same. Because why should their guide posts be different?
The goal is for all to subscribe to one moral code.
Protection for the weak and vulnerable. Autonomy for every individual. Ownership of one’s words and actions. Accountability for one’s decisions. But we also want an end to misogyny and microaggressions.
Toxic masculinity harms everyone — regardless of gender. It’s time to make toxic masculinity — culturally unacceptable, socially undesirable, eventually extinct.
Talk to your spouses and partners. Tell them that the sexual and emotional responsibility of your relationship should not be yours to bear alone just as the financial responsibility of your relationship should not be theirs to bear on their own.
You are a team. A team of equals that must bear equal responsibility in a relationship. The goal is collaboration not division, transformation not confrontation. The goal is to promote peace not wage war.
But some things need to be said out loud.
Caregiving and housekeeping are responsibilities that are as important as income generation and career advancement. There are no secondary or supporting roles because we cannot survive without the other.
Yet, while our survival may hedge on our capacity to provide for our essential needs, our significance lies in our capacity to build relationships that matter.
The goal is growth because the best legacy we can leave succeeding generations of women is a society transformed by growth not just in the professional direction but in the personal, as well.
March is Women’s Month and today, I celebrate my mother for showing me that I am not less because I want more in life.
March 25, 2023
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