Archive | June, 2013

Men living in women’s bodies

9 Jun

Despite women being fully capable of running countries, organisations or/and homes, in many countries there is a plague of men speaking on women’s behalf and making decisions on women’s behalf. The plague has spread from the marriage into the family, community and the workplace.

In a small village in the South of Sri Lanka I went into a family’s lovely home. The home was full of women – women from across three generations. The women of working age were bored and wanted to work. They also wanted to bring in more money. However, they told me that their husbands did not want them to work. And in many countries that’s where it all stops. Where women’s decisions are being controlled or made by men, their voices, needs, desires and aspirations become redundant.  Once a husband deems any number of things unnecessary/unwise/against the religious or culture then it’s seemingly a non negotiable, the dye has been cast and women become trapped in what becomes the man’s sphere of influence.  

However, to these men I would like to posit a suggestion. Unless that man is living in that woman’s body, what she does with her time and what activities she undertakes is absolutely and entirely up to her. Whether the man is a husband, a brother, a father or whatever relation, he is entitled to making decisions solely on behalf of himself and noone else.

Living in Afghanistan I see countless cases of men having ultimate control over all decisions. Whether it be how many children they will have, whether the woman can or cannot work or whether it be whether the women can leave the house to even go shopping or go to school. All things which she is entitled to under Afghan law and also under International law. Yet a man’s opinion, a man’s voice apparently holds more sway, is more important and more valuable even than law or religious. What entitles him to this?

I would very much appreciate it if men would control themselves and only themselves. Perhaps rather than burdening themselves with controlling women they could free themselves up to controlling themselves and then violence against women would reduce. Perhaps rather than having women subjected to violence in their homes, we can have greater equality in schools, in the workplace and in the world.

Women have their own voices, opinions, desires and we are in no need for others’.  Freedom of choice is not caveated with “for men only”.