I would say I have some loyal friends (smiles) who constantly read most of my writings. My co-authored publication with my friend (OLUWASEMILOORE ATERE) which was published in the Nigerian Tribune newspaper opened the floor for questioning. A friend contacted me and he said, “we need to talk.” Saturday came and we started our conversation which ran into two hours of long discussion (please, don’t ask me how I do it. Talking is natural for me. As long as, we are discussing tangible issues). His complaints were that women want their husbands to share house chores and childcare roles without sharing financial responsibility in the home. To him, there would be no gender equality until women agree to share in the financial burden of the home. In the course of our conversation, a notification came in from Facebook on this article and the person wrote, “It’s a nice concept…but be careful of what you ask for!…we firstly need to change the mindset of the community that men are not the sole provider in the home. . . we can then have men with less paying jobs and more time to take care of kids. Both have to realise its a 50-50 thing…even at the level of finance.”
Many times my male friends complained about women not wanting to share the financial burden of the relationship and home. They mentioned that most women want to keep their money to themselves. Is this true?
Some years back when I hardly discuss gender equality, I had a discussion with three of my friends about opening up to our husbands about our finances. All of them objected to this idea. The reason they gave was that their husbands do not need to know about their income. There was another time I had a discussion around family upkeep and some ladies stated that their husbands should be the sole provider in the home. My follow-up question then was “what would you use your income to do?” Some replied saying, “I will save my money.”
The practice of gender-specific role division in the home is neither the fault of a man or a woman. Rather, these are traditions that we embraced because of our environment. Of which, our society is built on patriarchal constructs. Each individual naturally gravitates towards the laid down gender framework: the lady that loves to cater to the family and the guy that loves to exercise authority and provide for the family. It is absolutely natural. We do not have to play the blame or shading game. Our society embraces and preaches gender divide. This is why a young man wants to provide for the needs of the whole family, and then prefer to pamper his beautiful wife. As a result, we encourage young ladies to be male-reliant other than being self-reliant. Some of us might have also seen our fathers dote over their wives and do everything to ensure our mothers do not lack. Recently, an older friend told me to go and get married, and I replied, “marriage ke, I don’t have money o o o, not this struggling time.” She replied, “your husband will take care of you. You are not the one to take care of yourself.” I smiled. But you know, society made women believe we do not have to work for money since we have a man. This is the same way a man is trained to believe a woman must cook for a man, cater to him, tidy the home, and nurture the children. Unfortunately for women, we are saddled with more tasks than the men who are more concerned about the finances of the home. This is because women do not only cater to the needs of the children and the home but also their careers (At least, we now have more women who are intentional about their careers). And this thus presents women as individuals with economic power since they work to earn an income.
Thanks to the twentieth century, feminism was one of the blessings of the century. This movement changed women’s perception of their roles. Therefore changing the narrative of women from being a home keeper to career women who desire equal economic power as the men. The blessings of the movement are huge. Similarly, its defects are great. Most especially, the fact that more feminist women who are yet to fully accept the egalitarianism that comes with feminism are still boxed by the notion of the “man must provide financially for the home.”
Many of us (ladies) are on this gender equality train but many of its ideals are difficult for us to practice. Some guys would say, “the moment it comes to finances, most gender advocates or feminist remember that their money is their own money and not for the family. However, the ideals of gender equality declare that there should be equality at all strata of society: the home, workplace, and more. And so, if a man would nurture, cook, and clean then, a woman should also take up the responsibilities of the finances.
So-called feminists and African women should no longer believe in the relegating and demeaning cultural practice that fails to foster equality at all fronts in society. Males and females must embrace shared responsibilities. In this manner, we promote love, diversity, and understanding.
I am writing this to women who hide under the guise of feminism and still fail to believe that shared responsibilities include sharing finances in the home. Also, this is for the cultural men who believe they have to provide everything for their women. No! As a man, you are not obliged to provide everything for your women. Your women have a role to play in the financial planning and decision-making of the home and the relationship.
This is the simple way I believe we can foster gender equality in the home and society at large.
Image Credit: Google and edited with Canva
Ke and o o o – are exclamatory and emphatic words in Yoruba. They used to give emphasis in a sentence. They can also be used to express negativity.