“ Women have always been the guardians of wisdom and humanity which makes them natural, but secret rulers. The time has come for them to rule openly, but together with, and not against men.” Charlotte Wolff was a wise woman. If women are acknowledged as secret rulers, from within their houses, then why are objections raised on their ruling openly, together with, and not against men, through a recognized platform?
On 10th of December, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted its Resolution 217 A (III) whose Article no 23 (I) states :
“ Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment”
Every article of the UNO Resolution begans with “ Everyone…” or “All human beings..” To sum it up, no discrimination of any kind is made while guaranteeing freedom of choice and liberty to one and all.
It is the fundamental right of every woman to choose between staying at home and stepping into the world to make a living, or a name for herself, and anyways, women tend to work harder than men, because after all, they have to go an extra mile to prove themselves, thus undubitously increasing the work standard and economy of the country.
There are those who argue that a woman’s place is only in her home. Only. This means that they want almost 95% of the country’s, in fact the world’s teachers to stop carrying the beacon of education; they want more than half of the world’s population to sit at home, dramatically reducing the labour force.
In that case, Miss Jinnah would not have contested the Presidential elections. Rosalind Franklin would have been unable to make sufficient discoveries and contributions in the field of medicine and win the 1962 Noble Prize for Physiology, and the Russian astronaut Valentina Teveshkova would never have inspired other women by herself becoming the first woman to travel into space.
A woman’s place is not necessarily always in the house. Be it the economic, health, social or educational sector, women have proved their worth always and mankind is forever indebted to them for that.
Be it Shamshad Akhter, the ex-State Bank Governor of Pakistan or Florence Nightingale, who taught us the basics of nursing and serving humanity; be it Shukria Khanum, the first female pilot of Pakistan or Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of Britain and more popularly known as the “Iron Lady”; be it Theodora, an able leader and one of the greatest Byzantine rulers who initiated laws to empower the 16th century women or be it Mussarrat Misbah, the founder of the country’s one of the largest social support organization for bereaved women, “Smile Again”, or Stephanie Kwoleck, an American research scientist who made several important discoveries regarding polymers, or an average woman who steps out of her house with all odds against her to ensure that her family does not go to bed hungry; women have always left their prints upon the sands of history.
Those who say that a woman’s place is in the house, argue so because they deem it “natural”. It only seems natural because we have been taught to consider it natural, thanks to our society’s very own, clear-cut ideas regarding gender roles, leading to gender stereotyping. I admit that women are better at handling the pots and pans and at child rearing, but, it certainly does not mean that they be excluded from practicing a profession of their choice.
Another objection raised is that working women fail to do justice to their roles as mothers, and this is a highly exaggerated notion as such women, with all their experience with the world at large, may be actually better equipped to understand and cater to the educational, physical and psychological needs of their children, despite the competing priorities. Besides, with today’s sky-rocketing inflation, both men and women have had to take the role of the bread-winners of the house.
As human beings, as members of this society, women have been given the “carte blanche”, and this right cannot be challenged.
If not to earn, then to prove their worth to this patriarchal society, to literally earn some respect from the chauvinists, it is peremptory for women to step out of their homes and mercilessly break the shackles of the typical stereotypes that have haunted women since centuries.
If staying at home is synonymous to child-rearing and domestic work, then it should not be forgotten that a home is made a home and not just left a “brick house” by both the husband and wife, i.e. a man and a woman. Therefore, it is their joint and equal responsibility to “stay at home”.
The bottom line is that it is every woman’s right to choose between staying at home, between pursuing a full time career and between juggling them both. The choice should be her’s and her’s alone, and should be respected and supported at all costs. Because if a woman chooses to stay at home and look after her children, then that itself is laudable. Again, it does not mean that that any woman be forced into it.
A woman’s place is not necessarily in the home. Not necessarily.
What do you think?