In conversation with my daughter about the Internacional Women’s Day
Friday is a day especially reserved for my children. It’s a very special day, we don’t do anything in a hurry. As we walk from school to home we talk about many things. Some of these conversations are trivial, but others are very important. Today, in one of these conversations, I asked my daughter if she knew what day it was. She said yes, it was International Women’s Day. I asked her next if she knew the reason for the existence of that day. She replied, “Oh, because in the old days women could only take care of the house, the husband and the children, but that was in the past, now women have the same rights as men.”
I looked at her and began to scratch my head while deciding whether to allow her to continue to believe in this “illusion” or to disappoint her by telling her the truth. Telling her that gender inequality continues to this day.Telling her in some places this inequality is so extreme that women do not have the right to determine their own future which is stolen from them when they are forced to “marry” and have children, often condemned to a life of abuse and unhappiness, at very young age.
So I looked at her and said, “No babygirl, unfortunately women still do not have the same rights as men. In some countries this inequality is small, but in others it is extreme. There are countries where children like you cannot go to school just because they are girls. When they grow up a little more they are forced into arranged marriage. ” With open mouth she said in Dutch: “wat belachelijk, dat kan toch niet (which means; this is ridiculous, that can’t be?)” . I wish I could say no, but the truth is that no matter how incredulous it seems to be, it’s true. To deceive you will not do you any good.
Instead I took the opportunity to educate her by giving her a real view of the world and deconstructing certain institutionalized ideas: I told her that it was ridiculous indeed and that under no circumstances what I have just told you should be true. But for centuries societies were created based on the ideology of machismo. Machismo is inequality of rights and duties between men and women, where man is the favored and is the powerful one. Which is extremely ridiculous because before we are men or women, we are all human beings and as such, we have the same physiological and emotional needs, just as we have the same physical and intellectual abilities.