Monday, June 14, 2010

Iron Woman

So why is it that the society has two different sets of spectacles when we look at gender issues? We were discussing GDP and economic margin added by females in the workforce. Guess who is winning from that - obviously men, because they can retire earlier and really can relax as the societal expectations have become so much laxer. Seriously, when I hear about campaigns like "Men Cry Too" I want to cry myself. Handing out handkerchiefs in the streets and arranging crying flash mobs is exactly what we need in these severe times of an economic downturn to prove to the civilized world that big boys DO cry.

At the same time, IRON MAN is a SUPERHERO:


Sometime in August last year I was condicting a Gender Awareness Seminar for the Finance team from all over Africa (there were representatives from Ghana, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, etc), quite diverse in gender and age. I was jumping around with flashy slides and exciting interactive exercises. everyone agreed that women need to be promoted and given more weight in the corporate world, but when it came down to practical implications, one of the female participants from a Magreb country stated (proudly) that she believed women´s place is in the kitchen and the corporates are putting too much pressure on them. It is like being two different people: a tough and modern business woman at work and subservient wife at home, who is not supposed to have an opinion different from her husband. Trying to combine both is a sure way to schizophrenia. Not in a good way...

What does it leave us with? Iron, woman!

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