We mark International Women’s Day this week.
This year I want to celebrate a class of women that we often overlook. The unsung heroes of modern civilization: the female breadwinners.
I recently noticed among my peers, it is our wives who actually earn more money than we do and have been holding us down for a while. What is admirable, despite the pressure, the tough times and how limiting it can be, these young women have been showing a certain stubborn determination that is just admirable.
Jobs have been few and far between. Men my generation too have been trying to launch a business, and that often takes time, and the failure rate is at an all-time higher. But the women have the faith, pay rent and hardly lose patience when we ask for bus fare.
I know of other several women who become breadwinners when their men are retrenched or beset by disease or any of life’s debilitating blows.
It is common and understandable for women to grumble when they take the tab in the house. But most of the women I’m talking about, grumble less, are understanding to a fault, and when they heap pressure on the men, it is to make the man proactive, because men nowadays lack the tenacity to carry through the tough days.
I have talked with several friends and indeed, they have deep respect for their wives even when they can’t say it. And that is why we should honour these women. As men, we don’t take it for granted. We are conditioned to be the hunters. We bring the bacon home. And it takes humility to accept that role change.
Generally, women inclined to marriage usually want the best and will give their all to make it work. Men can be difficult, usually find it hard to zip up, at times violent and women often soak up so much bullshit for us. Sometimes, they sacrifice so much, just to see junior go through school because they understand how unsettling it is for a child to grow without a father.
Men can be selfish and hardly helpful. When women take care of children and hold the home together, some men think it is because they are a godsend to the woman and the woman is a mere servant.
We have to be candid about these things. Our mothers received the short end of the stick.
Increasingly, there are more women breadwinners than there have been in the history of mankind. Discounting single-mothers, even in marriages, women traditionally and increasingly always do more. In a survey of countryside living it was established that women work longer and quantitatively do more work than men, across men cultures. It is easy to ignore this fact.
Throughout my life, I have struggled to understand men who don’t see the humanity of women. As adults, we look back how our mothers used to be treated and I see most adults being fond of their mothers because most of our fathers were and could be trash. When not beating our mothers for sport, they were serial cheats bringing disease and misery to our mothers. This total lack of empathy always baffled me.
Yet, I have learnt from my uncles who treated their wives better, how fulfilling the institution of marriage could be, and every time I visit them, and I see them still in love after these many years, it gives me hope in a hopeless world.
Something with growing older is that people become candid. Half the people I talk with are ambivalent about their fathers and rarely with their mothers. Some are usually forthright that they have no love for their father absolutely.
Ironically, some of these old men, you meet them, now sick and dishevelled, so powerless and I wonder if they reckon the terror they used to reign on their wives and children. We have to be candid about these things. Our mothers received the short end of the stick.
That is why, I’m impressed to see many young women who want their marriages to succeed and do everything to make it work, including standing by their men in tough days, however long it takes.
At a time, more marriages are strained because of finances, we can’t be luckier.
So, I urge for men who are provided by their wives, to be respectful to them. Women go through so much, even at their places of work in order to bring bread and butter home. Participate in household chores and be useful. Don’t cling to useless traditions when you don’t have a traditional role in the house.
Happy International Women’s Day to the female breadwinners.