(Disclaimer: This blog is in no way directed to hurt the feelings of housewives or househusbands. This content entirely aims at promoting equity, equality and abolishing the prevalent toxic power structure. Also, it is equally dedicated to all trans women and men as it is to cis women and men. Happy Reading!)
Firstly, get this clear- Equality ≠ Identical. Here, with gender equality I mean to emphasize the fact that anybody irrespective of their gender, should be entitled to equal rights and responsibilities.
Now, you may ask me that what I have meant through the importance of gender equality in a relationship. Well, in a romantic relationship we often come across imbalances in the gender roles, inequality in efforts, toxic power structure, and whatnot! These are nothing but the consequences of inequality in a relationship. For that, we need to work on establishing gender equality, thus increasing the stability of a relationship.
What is Gender Inequality in a relationship? How is it caused?
We are standing in this 21st century and we still have to worry about all these! It is a shame. I said what I said! Now, coming to the causes of such gender-based inequality in a relationship. For that, we need to excavate into the roots of patriarchy! I will just share some day-to-day incidents that you must have come across or seen somebody coming across it!
~ Women are meant to reside in kitchens only.
~ A wife is not supposed to earn more than her husband.
~ A man is not a man if he is expressive about his feelings.
~ Household works are only for women.
~ A man has to be the sole breadwinner of the family.
~ A woman is supposed to stay with her in-laws after marriage, while the man cannot stay with in-laws. Else, it is the breach of his masculinity.
~ A woman should wear vermilion, bangles (in the Indian context), and change her surname for the sake of marriage. Whereas, for a man, you won’t know if he is married or a bachelor by looking at him!
~ A marriage is supposed to change the life and entire identity of a woman and it is her ultimate goal.
~ Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera!
These along with many others are the normalized sexism and our daily dose of patriarchy! While if we focus on Gender Equality, it will be like-
~ Cooking is a basic life skill, irrespective of gender. Everyone should learn how to cook.
~ Earning depends upon the job and the position at the workplace. A woman earning more has nothing to create insecurity in a relationship. If it does, it is the fragile ego of the self-proclaimed toxic masculinity and patriarchy.
~ Humans are social beings, made up of emotions and feelings apart from blood and flesh. So, whoever it might be, it is natural and humane to be expressive about emotions.
~ Again, household works are gender-neutral! Any work is gender-neutral and is a basic necessity to sustain life.
~ A man is the sole breadwinner of the family. It is another patriarchal structure, to put undue pressure on men and limit a woman’s progress. For that, we need to make sure that women get all the education to be independent, both financially and emotionally.
~ A woman or a man should choose that what they want to do or where they want to stay after their marriage. It should be a choice, not a compulsion by the societal norms.
~ A marriage or a relationship does not depend upon vermilion, bangles, or a change in surname. If it does, it should be equally effective for both men and women. Because a marital institution should be a mutual one. Also, historical references suggest that these are the symbols that consider a woman as a slave and property after marriage to her husband.
~ A marriage is a choice and can be a part of somebody’s life. It should not change somebody’s life at the cost of their individuality and freedom.
~ Et cetera, Et cetera, Et cetera!
These are certain examples of what these inequalities are and where lies the basic problem.
These are predominantly caused due to- Patriarchy, Misogyny, Unbalanced power structure.
And from the above examples, you can notice how all these creeps into a relationship and affect it.
Importance Of Gender Equality In A Relationship.
~ Financial Independence
There are a lot of reasons behind emphasizing financial independence in a relationship. From the Indian context especially, in a lot of cases women are forced to quit their jobs or are not educated properly. These eventually make them prone to relationship and marital violence. They are forced to stay in abusive relationships. In the case of marriage, divorce is always looked down on as a social evil, especially for women. While we know that it is okay to come out of a relationship or marriage when it is not working. At that time, a financially independent woman will have a greater advantage of living her life the way she wants. Also, in a relationship when both the man and woman earn, it helps to share the responsibilities and avoids putting pressure on the man all alone. And most importantly, a woman should earn for herself and should make herself happy with whatever she wants! After all marriage and relationship are choices, independence is a right.
~ Mentality Matters
We often come across remarks of considering women as someone very weak. This is the narrative of the patriarchal society. Women are strong! So, having a sober mentality in your partner along with yours is so very important. Studies show that women having a feminist man as their partner seems to share a healthier bond both in terms of quality and stability! Mind you, Feminism= Equality. This eventually encourages a woman to love herself more, pursue her career and be independent. Society will do anything to limit a woman’s progress, whereas a genuine partner will not. A partner is supposed to be like that, not someone who will keep on abusing you.
~ The Role Of Consent
A sober mentality and outlook for equality will help in understanding mutual consent. With that, mutual respect seems to rise. Eventually, relationship conflicts seem to lessen and create better understanding. Consent can be either sexual or non-sexual. Both are important. A concept of equality thus enhances the power of consent. The unhealthy power structure of dominance will eventually be rubbed off! Also, it will help you and your partner get a healthy sex life as well.
Love and respect are two sides of a coin if we consider the coin as a relationship. So, that’s all you need from a relationship right? With mutual consent, comes mutual respect and love.
~ Age Matters Too
We all know about Child Marriage and we also know that how it is still prevalent in some parts, even in this 21st century! The reasons why age should be considered as an important factor are- sexual maturity; emotional, financial, and physical independence. Women in most of these cases are the sufferers. Women are forced to get pregnant at a very young age, which poses a threat to their health both physically and mentally. And in these cases, the male partner is mostly an aged one compared to the girl. This creates a huge inequality, leading to a lot of violence where girls are trapped. Equality in maturity both physically and mentally will eventually lessen the occurrence of such social evils.
~ Decision Making
With equality, comes another factor- decision making. When your relationship is built on the foundation of equality, you will always find that your decision holds as important a position as your partner’s decision does. That helps in building self-confidence and self-esteem.
~ We Are Humans, Not Objects
In a relationship and marriage, a woman is often reduced to mere sexual objects, and men are often reduced to monetary objects. Women are taught to behave in a particular way to be more sexually accepted by a conventionally rich man. Men are often pressurized for jobs to take up a family’s sole responsibility (especially government jobs). But with equality, these social biases start disappearing. Women and men start to live the way they want!
A relationship should be about partnership, not ownership.
So, start sharing, because “Sharing is caring”. It can be sharing the bills, sharing the responsibilities, sharing the food, sharing household works, and most importantly sharing love and respect.
We wish you all an advance Happy International Women’s Day!
Start practicing equality, if you haven’t yet. BeMyCharm wishes you a very prosperous life ahead, full of liberations and self-discovery.