By Daniel Boxill
As the pillar of support for the family unit, which functions as the foundation of society, women provide social cohesion and are the backbone of any strong community.
They make up half of the world’s population and comprise over one billion Commonwealth citizens. Yet, the value of women in society seems to never truly be appreciated.
Women themselves often seem to be unaware of the power they hold, allowing themselves to constantly be downtrodden, while maintaining their silent fight just to survive inhuman conditions.
War especially highlights this. During armed conflicts, invading forces often rape, beat and mutilate women. The women are treated as nothing more than objects and they often go willingly, sacrificing themselves to protect their children and families.
This is the true double-edged beauty of a woman. Strong enough to bear the emotional burdens of the world, but all too often called upon to sacrifice themselves for others.
In Greek mythology, Atlas was forced during the Titanomachy (The war of Gods vs Titans) to forever bear the burden of the sky on his back. So too does the fate of women seem.
There is a risk that women will forever be Atlases. Although in most of our societies, patriarchy is deeply ingrained and everything seems geared towards the advancement of men over women, women are the ones who in fact hold power.
I would argue:
- Women control most societies’ economic power. They are the ones who control the spending in most households.
- Usually left to take care of children, women are the ones who are responsible for training each new generation and what is indoctrinated into them in their early life. They therefore heavily influence belief systems.
- Men are enamoured by women and will do most anything to win them over and to impress them.
Unless women lobby and agitate for change, several things to which they’re subjected will continue to be taken for granted as acceptable. Women need to grab hold of the power which they own and use it to improve their lives.
There must be a balance however. Simply replacing men in power with women will solve nothing. It will simply create a role reversal where men then feel inferior and then have to fight for power creating a cyclic gender war.
The aim should be power-sharing, where women are allowed to have power along with men, with both groups being empowered, motivated and feeling like worthwhile members of society.
(Originally published: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/americas-and-caribbean/correspondence-there-is-a-risk-that-women-will-forever-be-atlases/ )
About Author: Daniel Boxill is a freelance multi-media artist. With a passion for music, literary talent and a background in art and design, multi-media artist is an apt title. He is freelancing while currently pursuing his undergrad degree in Literatures in English from The University of the West Indies’, Cave Hill Campus located in his native Barbados.