We are greatly influenced by gender norms or, as others may term it “rules”, which tell us what both genders should and shouldn’t do. What this does is open the floodgates of discrimination and stigmatization. It is said that if you do not follow the rules or follow what has been set, then there is a clear problem and consequences- which I should add could be as drastic as death or life imprisonment- are justified.
I think it’s important to highlight some of the key indicators that have plagued our society when it comes to gender inequality. One very obscene ideology that was and is still highly propagated by society but with less insistence is that women are generally taught that their only job is to get married and have children and that men are often taught from birth to “man up” and not show any emotions or discuss mental health or else they are deemed weak which goes to show how badly gender equality needs to be achieved.
It is a very sad state to be in such a society, but I also understand when you are taught from a tender age specific ideologies, and you are told that questioning situations and ideologies are like stubbing your close family in the back, then the older you get, the harder it gets to let go of those behaviours and ideologies. I guess it’s true when they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. A little bit harsh but very true.
That said it is also as important for the “old dogs” so to speak to understand that times are changing and, as a friend of mine says, you better get a copy of the manuscript to get with the program or be left in the unknown. Now, what is truly hilarious about this analogy is that the “old dogs” hold the keys to the city; they make sure the city runs. A good example of this is when certain laws are being passed, the Member of parliament represents the thoughts and wants of the people. They have to ensure the delivery of the people’s wants.
And, sure, I know what you’re thinking: the old dogs have power, and they could come in and change things in one fell swoop, but in reality, we the people placed them in power, and it is equally up to us to remove them from power if they do not deliver on what they promised. What I’ve seen some communities or societies do, is take issues into their own hands and demand change, with or without the assistance of the “old dogs,” by constructing a society that works for them.
It is quite easy for them to completely disregard the concerns because they live in their little bubble, which they have constructed for themselves, and if there is a significant crisis afflicting the people, they will be in their bubble stating everything is wonderful, while the people are suffering.
The one clear positive in this situation is that, as I have seen some communities or societies doing, they are taking matters into their own hands and demanding change, with or without the help of the “old dogs”, by creating a society that works for them due to the lack of accountability by the leaders.
As a result, we the people can shape the course of society. Our ultimate goal should be to help end child marriage, reduce female genital mutilation, provide safe spaces, assist menstrual health management, provide HIV and AIDS care, satisfy psychosocial needs, and much more. These are the difficulties that affect our generation, and it is up to us to find solutions and create our societies as safe havens, places where everyone is free to live happily without stigma or discrimination.