Being a feminist, I have always advocated for gender equality between both sexes. Apart from opting to major in ‘Human Rights of Women’ as one of my modules in my Master of Laws programme, I have also been contributing as a remote researcher with Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE) – Singapore’s Women Activists.
Read here for 1 of my contributions on World Bank Group – Women, Business and the Law – Existence and Scope on Singapore Laws Addressing Domestic Violence and Sexual Harassment(Link).
Women as a whole, have been suppressed of their rights in which is prevailing in other countries, especially in the developing countries.
Apart from the biological strength that men naturally possess, that in my opinion is the very first initial reason why women are categorised as the 2nd tier of human beings in terms of genders, there are myriads of reasons as to when women are so different from men. Stemming from biological, to mental, to social standings and expectations to spiritual etc.
Women in Singapore are generally in a much better and well-off position compared to those in the developing countries. Comparing the developed and developing countries, our rights are not as suppressed in totality. Let us put bits and pieces of gender discrimination aside, looking at the bigger picture, we women still receive opportunities for education, posses voting rights, be financially independent etc.
However, if you were to compare the stress levels between a housemaker who depends financially on her husband who is the sole breadwinner to most working women who has to juggle among taking care of her family, which spells, her husband, her parents (shared responsibilities with her siblings if circumstances permit), her child/children, cooking and cleaning of the house as well as to cope with her other responsibilities and commitments at work, her boss, her colleagues, her workload, the expectations of her… yada yada yada.
Of course, I am not saying that the men play no part. In fact, I am all for both the men and women should work as a team if they were to get married and start a family.
But because women are more inclined towards care-taking as they are more sensitive to emotional needs and logically, they would be emotionally more attached to their children, after carrying them in their womb for 9 months. That is notwithstanding of all the pain and suffering they have to experience during pregnancy and after pregnancy.
Looking at how my sister has to go through during her pregnancy and currently, when she has to constantly be on her toes, be it to attend to my niece’s cryings, whining, shouting, pee, poo, pumping milk, having the patient to soothe the baby to sleep or to quieten down etc, does shed more light as to how strong a woman has to be for her child. This strength stems from the unconditional love of a mother for her child no doubt.
I am thankful for the fact that Singapore does govern women’s rights quite a bit, with the Women’s Charter and all. Of course, there are loopholes which put women at a greater disadvantage than men or totally benefit the men. There is no one perfect Utopian society and system, and furthermore, you can never please everyone. Balance is the key but with inevitable dissatisfaction from both parties (where it involves only 2 groups that is).
If you know me personally, I am not your girly-girl sort of girl and you would seldom see my bf carrying my bag for me, unless I really really need help or when I’m dead-beat. Also, I rather speak my mind than to beat around the bush to get my thoughts voiced out. I detest when girls manja/teh/sainai otherwise known as whine. That is too childlike for me. Grow up. Looking at the rate how local men are choosing foreign women over local women could be attributed to this factor, although I am often told that even some foreign women are domineering lot.
I hate to depend on other people and always strive to be self-sufficient and independent, although sometimes emotionally-dependent may be difficult to be avoided. I like standing on my own two feet and have a mind of my own, but at the same time, respecting others. I don’t say I am perfect, but at least I do try.
The recent Stomp news on how a girl (regardless of her nationality, she’s a Malaysian by the way or so they claimed) chided her bf publicly because he bought her a can of coke, which apparently isn’t her cuppa tea (pun unintended) and goes on to reprimand him for being useless as he is unable to provide her a ‘better’ life financially and materialistically, totally irks the hell outta me.
While it is enjoyable and pleasurable, otherwise known as ‘shiok’, to have someone pay everything for you, but that lack of self-accomplishment is actually something money cannot buy. You have to strive with your own bare hands to achieve that.
Both parties should actually work hard and strive towards whatever common goals they have, and women on the other hand, should not cry out loud and push all the blame to the men (unless he’s really useless – bumming around and wasting money etc) when they are also at the very same time, advocating for gender equality.
I know the contradictions.
One of the ironies of Life.
*This post is to commemorate International Women’s Day which falls on 8th March every year across the world. IWD is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women in the past, present and future. It is a day when women are recognised for their achievements, regardless of divisions, whether national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic or political. It is an occasion for looking back on past struggles and accomplishments, and more importantly, for looking ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities that await future generations of women.
And with this, as a woman, I thank those who have been constantly fighting and upholding women’s rights and championing for gender equality.