The opportunities women have today may be growing by the minute. But so grows the weight they have to carry around.
For years and years, International Women’s Day has been this one day of the year when we talk about women’s achievements (like, in general), and have a serious, yet always a bit forced dialogue about women’s problems and rights. The day starts celebrating girl power, the day ends honoring all those great girls that made history – Maria Curie, Mother Teresa, Margaret Thatcher… On the 9th of March, we pick the leftovers from the party our male colleagues or family put out for us, we change the water of the flowers we got yesterday, we finish that cute box of chocolates, and we move on. Until the next 8th of March, when will again be the time to talk about our issues.
The reality, however, is that this simply must be an everyday discussion, not tied to a special day. Otherwise all the big issues we address on International Women’s Day will never be solved. Because, unsurprisingly, the challenges women face nowadays do not decrease with the development of societies, quite the opposite.
In today’s world, a lot more is added to the basket of Eve – when she asked for voting rights, labour rights, equal payment rights, nothing of her usual, “woman” luggage was dropped. It just turned out that Eve can carry more.
Because Eve was, theoretically equal to any Adam, she took her chances and went to university, landed a job and grew professionally. She carried all these apples well. Then other apples started falling in her basket – what about children? It is the most woman thing to do, Eve kept hearing, the one that makes you complete, do not wait, it will only get harder. All right, said Eve after careful deliberation, let’s do it, everybody says it is natural.
At least 50% of the Eves taking this decision hope or are sure this will mean one apple less. In fact, for good part of them, it is about a kilo more – a sound reminder that Eve is still not just the same as Adam.
What happens when your boss finds out you are trying to get pregnant, or you already are? Will you get an adequate treatment, or will you be seen as a liability? And what if, for whatever reason in the world, you cannot conceive naturally? Will you be ashamed, even if the problem is with your partner and not with you? Will you be strong enough to accept it, will you be driven enough to pass by the problem and aim for the actual goal? Will you be able to afford in vitro, if you don’t live in a country with well-suited medical care? Should and when the miracle happens, will you be able to give birth naturally? Because, you see, it is not just about getting pregnant, no, no! Certain members of the crowd will always remind you that a real mom is a natural birth mom, all else is vanity.
The basket weights a lot now, but that’s hardly the end of it. Hey, Eve, you need to dedicate your every minute to this kid up until he/she is ready to go to university, and not a minute less. That’s what a mom means, you know. Oh, you want to go back to work? But why, you have the most important job in the world, how come you don’t get it? Hey, Eve, do this, hey, Eve, do not do that… !
Unfortunately, half of the Eves in this world will bend under this inhumane, cruel attitude and treatment.
Gladly, the other half will get up, brush out the remaining of the rotten apples thrown their way, and start making their own choices. They will be stay-at-home mums if they want to. They will be working mums, if they want to. And both types will have their own strong reasons for it. They will dedicate their lives to the kids because they believe that’s the only way to raise a child. Or they will chose to develop professionally, and go back to work because they think this example is best for their offspring.
We cannot erase all the apples in Eve’s basket with a magic stick. But the least we can do is to keep the debate on women’s right to