Today is International Women’s Day

As a member of the male species, allow me to give my two cents worth on this significant day where we celebrate women, remember their priceless contributions and continue to fight and champion for the rights of women everywhere, not just in our own country but as our duty as citizens of the world.

Women have come far since the olden days where all they are expected to do is to toil in the house and labour with love for the family while the men fulfill their responsibilities to provide food on the table and money to spend. As humanity continues to progress, we are seeing a direct shift – more like a steady reversal of roles – to that situation. The awareness that women can be better than men and can take on the same work as men, simly testifies to the victory of the women’s rights movement that was sparked off by the West at the turn of the 20th century. But feminism and the women’s rights movement has been festering for years and years before that. The novelist Jane Austen wrote about it in her works during the Victorian times.

Even though women have now come a long way since the days where they are expected to be married off at a young age, work in the house, raise the children, not allowed to vote and regarded as inferior to the men. I think men in those old days should be fortunate that the women weren’t following the lead of female praying mantises (a female praying mantis will turn her mate into her meal once the male had mated her – it’s not very nice being a male praying mantis!).

Despite all the achievements of the women rights or the feminist movement, there is still much, much, much more to do. Even in Malaysia, we are still bombarded by news of women being abused, raped and treated as filth. Women being picked on for their unconventional behaviours – not dressed the way they are “supposed” to dress, their mannerisms are unladylike and all that. It all boils down to the fact that many of us remain largely ignorant or largely impassive towards the feelings, needs and rights of our women.

I am a male and I will proudly boast that I give my full support to women’s causes. We are living in a modern and forward-looking society and old ways no longer have a place in this time. Female circumcision, forcing females to cover up from head to toe, forcing them to be married against their wills, forbidding them to a right to education, forbidding them the right to speak, the right to do the things that they want to do all have no place in this time and age. Yet, because of the stubbornly traditionalistic and so-called religiosity of certain people have allowed this to continue to happen.

When rapes happened, the women are said to brought it upon themselves for the way they dress and behave. When wives get abused in the home, they are looked upon as bad wives who did not serve her husband well. These are all unfair, biased and prejudiced views the same archaic people that rule the Kelantan state now. Interpreting religious commandments at face value is an absolute fallacy. No one take the laws meant for the people thousands of years ago seriously anymore. It just simply have no place in the here and now. Changes must be made, reinterpretation is necessary. But not for some, sadly.

But I disgress.

The fact of the matter is simple and often said: behind every successful men is a strong, supportive and loving wife. It’s about time the men stand up and recognise the efforts of women who has come through so much to be where they are now. Men must admit that they are no longer the dominant, superior race nor should they think they are increasingly inferior to women. No, men and women are not on equal footing, equal standings. Women are strong and just as capable as men. We should not shy away from this fact because this is the cold hard truth. Universities have a higher female population than males, there are an increasing number of female leaders in the world – new German Chancellor Angela Merkel is one – films and television has portrayed more and more tough, intelligent women that can hold their own just as good as men.

It is time that the governments of the world pay serious attention to women’s issues and ensure that gender discrimination does not happen prevalently anymore. Malaysia’s Family Law bill must serve the women equally, and ensure that they do not lose out to the men. The ulamas and the imams had better shape up or they’ll be in danger of being ridiculed and alienated. Egotistical and chauvinistic males have no place in society as well. All in all, we men need to change our perspective and outlook on women’s issues and lend them the support they deservedly needed. How would you feel if it were your mother or sister who becomes a victim of gender discrimination? You would certainly defend them and only the most heartless and coldest men would not.

The change has started. The change will continue. Let us salute our women today!

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  1. Samster

    What was it this pastor said?

    “God didn’t make Eve out of Adam’s foot so she’s be beneath him or head so she’s be above him. He made Eve out of Adam’s rib to protect his heart and be beside him.”

    It’s sad that women have always been oppressed by chauvinist pigs and senseless idiots but do let us be wary that some of these ladies, in their fight, do not become the same. While we oppress by brute force and snide remarks, they oppress by sly manipulation and emotional bullying.

    Sometimes, I wonder, in high school, is it worse to be a guy pushed around by jocks or a girl slandered and insulted by pompous Ms. Populars?

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