Image by Neda Dorudi
By Kay Gouw: As a young woman who forms part of the generation Z I have witnessed from an early age the rise in the discussion regarding womens’ position in society, I have been introduced to feminism and have encountered a fair amount of literary work dedicated to the recognition of women’s rights. Yet what I failed to be taught was how these movements related to me, a woman in the making. It seemed to me like those “issues” were just for some, that they didn’t relate to me.
As a child, my peers and I didn’t think too much about the role or the importance of women and, if anything, we held quite patriarchal views about the topic. Our fathers were supposed to be the head of the house and earning the higher salary while the mothers could work, if they wanted to, but we weren’t surprised if they were homemakers. The idea of women pursuing a career without settling down and having a family was a foreign concept, intriguing yet foreign. As a naive child I didn’t question my own or my peers’ ideology and was oblivious to the fact that me myself one day would find myself in the midst of this discussion, as by then I would call myself a woman and not a child anymore.
As a 21-year old young woman I am slowly discovering what being a woman actually means. I never paid much thought to it even throughout my teenage years yet through little interactions and events I explore the topic more everyday. For example, on International Women’s Day I worked a shift where it happened that there were only women on duty. We were really short of staff and we had to rely on each other to get the job done. Despite finding ourselves in a challenging situation the atmosphere was serene. We all volunteered to help do other staff’ jobs, we sat and had deep and inspiring conversations about a range of topics and shared our advice on them while one staff member treated us with freshly baked cupcakes and another prepared a full Sunday-roast dinner for us. The way we interacted with each other, especially on International Women’s Day, got me thinking about what calling myself woman means again.
With the wisdom I have now I can clearly see the differences between men and women, and I am not opposed to these differences at all. My definition on men and women’s equality means that we recognise that there are differences between us and that we shouldn’t try to make ourselves be “the same”. By denying our biological and psychological differences we are dismissing our identity as women and also their identity as men. My aim isn’t to be the same as a man but instead to celebrate my own individual womanhood. I want to learn more about myself as a woman and I want to understand men better in order to understand how we can both work towards establishing a harmonious relationship. All I ask for is that my demands, efforts and voice be recognised and to be considered equally as important as men’s. Nothing more and nothing less. Regardless if you celebrated or not, I hope everyone had a great day on International Women’s Day, may everyday be a celebration of your own womanhood.
Here’s to strong women: may we know them, may we be them and may we raise them.