Saturday, 21 August 2010

Empowering Women

Some Feminists have pointed out that for women to be empowered requires the whole patriarchal society to be changed. The reason for this, is that the patriarchal society was created by men for men. Men are fundamentally different from women, in that they are naturally more completeness than women. Like other species of male animals like stags, rams or bulls who fight each other every spring for access to females. Male animals also like to fight and compete with each other, this is why patriarchal societies have wars with each other. Women on the other hand are driven by their maternal or nurturing instincts, so their focus is more on the caring of children as well as the sick and elderly. So for this reason women are not as competitive as men.

Everything to do with the patriarchal society is competitive. We have the capitalist system where industrial companies, shops or banks compete with each other for business and market share. Every patriarchal organization is based on a hierarchical system where men compete with each other in moving up the pecking order. In democratic politics we have different political parties competing with each other for votes and political power.

All these competitiveness create a big dilemma for women. Although in Western countries women won equal rights for themselves back in the 1970s. To benefit from these equal right women found they had to become as completeness as men. The choice they found they had, was either to compete with men for wealth and power, or find themselves condemned to do only low paid jobs. So many women took on this challenge and even went to assertiveness class, to learn how to be as assertive and competitive as men.

How far some women were willing to go in learning to be as completeness and assertive, we can see in Margaret Thatcher. She did learn how to be, “one of the boys”, so well, she became the leader of a very right wing political party. Then later she became Prime Minister and became known as, “The Iron Lady”. She proved herself to be a very decisive war-leader in the Falklands war, and in peacetime she was a very ruthless, Machiavellian politician. So she has proven that women can play men at their own game and beat them. The only trouble was with her leadership, was that she was so tough and macho, that she never showed any of the nurturing qualities that women have.

This then is the problem, many career women find they have a choice of either obeying their maternal instincts to have children, which handicaps them when competition against men in their career, or not have children at all. Some women even try to be superwomen and try to combine a successful career with motherhood.

Yet, in spite of all the problems women have in competing against men for wealth and power, more and more women seem to be willing to do this. Before the Feminist revolution of the 1960s and 70s, most schoolgirls outperformed schoolboys at school up until the age of puberty and then they mostly lost interest because it was accepted that women will end up getting married and have children and become housewives. Then in the 1980s this all changed and for an increasing number of schoolgirls their academic performance no longer dropped away at the age of puberty and they began to out perform boys in higher education. So much so, that in the 1990s, more girls were going to university than boys. This has been the trend every since, where the gap between girls and boys in academic studies has increased.

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