Yesterday I read an article on gender and social change in the past 10 years, there is a new trend initiated by the now 30 to 40 year olds. Researches show that women lead the global workforce. Findings suggest it's not because women are superior to men, but because patriarchy has limited the male's choice to a career line. Women adjust more to the demands of the industry, while men feel certain work aren't masculine enough. They choose engineering as their subject of choice in a world progressing towards a service industry, although not absolutely, we are slowly leaving behind the manufacturing industry. Consequently, women fill in the positions of customer service, news anchor, marketing manager, consultant, the list goes on to work mainly related to soft skills and developing the right side of the human brain.
Women leaving the house for professional work has also opened up new professional work in the domestic area and early childhood education sector. The people getting degrees on childhood psychology and filling up these positions? More women.
My criticism is that these findings are western-centric. Being culturally, ethnically, and religiously more diverse (and devout) Indonesia works differently, implying different gender development.
But in terms of upper middle class Jakarta, to some extent these findings are reflective towards what is currently happening. Women in Jakarta do have more social mobilisation than men. I've seen mothers bringing their newborns to work so they can continue breastfeeding them, some choose part time work, and some decide to advocate on how to juggle between motherhood and career. But the general trend is to not leave domestic responsibilities while embracing professional development.
Another personal observation is how working women have a tendency to feel superior over their male counterparts. They are the dominant caregivers to their children and they contribute financially to the household. A female 30 year old manager said to me one day, 'I can do everything a man can, I can call someone to repair broken things in the house, and I can get pregnant.'
Let us all take a deep breath.
I won't go into a long debate about gender sociology, but I do want to emphasise on one thing.
Our foremothers worked hard so that women could have equal chance in education and work, not because we can build a new trend of matriarchy. If women today feel that the world has changed towards female superiority, really, we are just repeating the same 'repression' 'feminists' have fought against. We are becoming what we (used to) criticise.
I believe that the world creates a natural balance, but humanity, we need to work on.
The trick is now for men to be more active domestically and let go of patriarchal views that are actually repressive towards them actualising their potential. Embracing the fact that they can be as good a parent as a mother and as good in using their right brain as women.
And for women to remind ourselves, that a 'household' is not about who does things better and faster. But about how we can cooperate with each other to realise greater things, like raising our 'children'.
Let us leave behind '(matriar/partriar)-chy'. Let us embrace, well, humanity.
After all, aren't we all one of the same kind?
Dedicated to my partner
Who from the get go
Works as hard in tending to our son
as he does in his career
And all the while
thinks nothing of praise
But that we all live
to fulfill our responsibilities
Photo taken at 2AM
Malik was 2 weeks old
PS: in case you're wondering, that's bottled breastmilk :D
It's how we divided night-shifts. And no, he didn't have trouble latching on afterwards.