By Mira Khatib
Women are working hard for equality and closing the gender gap, and they did indeed come a long way since the Global Gender Gap Report that was first published in 2006 by the World Economic Forum. These gaps are prevalent in many walks of life being it in gender equality, equality for education, employment opportunities, pay or social norms and there is no denying the benefits reaped from such equality for economic growth.
From the many women workshops and empowerment sessions I attended, seeing working women clapping for one another, I couldn’t help but notice there is another gap looming over our heads that no one seems to notice or address. We always express the need for women to empower one another, sharing resources, expertise even praise. And although that still remains a challenge in the workforce for some, yet there are those who measure their success by helping others succeed as well.
However most of these working women have already stepped into the empowerment path, being able to have a career, be financially independent and self-develop to better their lives is a step in the right direction. But what about the regular house wife? That woman who decided to stay home; whether from lack of opportunity or to be with her children or even a choice she made and is comfortable with, how does she fit in the circle of empowerment?
What I have come to realize is that most of those stay at home women can benefit from the support of career women, and do wonders for themselves and their families if they had the right tools, whether they seek employment or not. But career women and women at home are two worlds apart. They are so alienated from one another that it is shocking.
The career woman is so focused on her work and overcoming her own battles to succeed not having the time to consider what it is like for that woman at home spending her hours raising children. Some even might be under the impression that these housewives have it easy, believing that they spend their days watching soap operas and shopping. Pointing a disapproving finger to the lack of commitment for change, feeling that as a working woman she has to carry the burden to make up for the slack of women who decided not to seek a career.
On the other spectrum there is the housewife, who is busy running around attending to the needs of her family, exhausted most of the time. Unfortunately there are even those who feel resentful for not being able to do more with their life. Some of these housewives see the career woman as a threat, where her man goes and spends hours with on a daily basis, her state of comparison is understood yet not justified. Sometimes in her mind the housewife views the career woman as selfish, hungry for power even at the expense of her loved ones. Blaming many failed marriages on the career woman or believing it is a reason for staying single, pointing another disapproving finger for the choices made by the career woman.
Imagine if we could bridge the gap between the two worlds, and allow the women to converse and communicate, how much they would realize that they have a lot more similarities, dreams, passions, and fears in common than they realize. We are all the same after all but with different circumstances and choices but the fundamentals almost always remain the same.
When women begin to understand one another and be more open minded, tolerant, respectful of one another’s choices so much more could be accomplished. With our unity our true strengths and potential are enveloped. Both working women and stay at home women would both gain means from each other to help fight bigger battles that would really impact the outcome of our future as women.
A cosmopolitan caliber of empowered women is the way to go towards a more promising tomorrow.