Breaking the Chains: A Tale of Resilience and Gender Equality

In the spotlight of this year’s International Day of the Girl Child with the theme, “Invest in Girls’ Rights: Our Leadership, Our Well-being,” I’m reminded of the resilience and tenacity I exhibited as a young child, challenging the deeply embedded norms of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism.

From a young age, I pondered why society assigned household chores to females, deeming them demeaning, while men were spared from such responsibilities. The division of labor seemed unfair, and I decided to take a stand by refusing to partake in these gendered roles. My family, however, didn’t welcome my protest. They labeled me as lazy and I was exhibiting an abuse of authority as the first child. In an attempt to rectify this injustice, I created a household chores roster that assigned tasks to my brothers. A fight ensued, but my father mediated, ensuring that my brothers followed the roster. Unfortunately, this arrangement proved unsuccessful as my brothers resisted, prompting me to stop participating in household chores to emphasize the injustice of gendering these tasks.

I refrained from entering the kitchen to cook or engage in house chores, mirroring my brother’s stance, and my family was initially shocked. I had always been known for keeping the house immaculate, but I was no longer willing to be part of a system that enforced gendered roles.

The issue of slut-shaming, a pervasive problem, left me perplexed. Society devalues women for their sexual activity, contrasting it with how men are lauded for the same actions. Women are conditioned to conceal their desires and play the role of chaste beings, waiting for their husbands to initiate sex. Men can boast about their escapades without judgment, while women are harshly criticized for the same behavior.

Another concern that troubled me was the discrimination faced by single mothers, especially those who are divorced or unmarried. They are often stigmatized and deemed undesirable partners while the fathers evade consequences for their irresponsibility. Single fathers, in contrast, are not subjected to the same scrutiny and even find new partners to share the parenting burden. This unequal treatment highlights the misconception that parenthood is primarily a mother’s responsibility.

Pregnancy puts women at risk of losing their jobs, as many employers view them as financial liabilities. Women are often denied leadership roles, beginning in school, where they are assigned assistant positions rather than the role of class monitor. This pattern continues into politics, where women are often relegated to deputy governor positions or women’s leader roles within political parties. It’s disheartening that a gender equality bill was rejected in the legislature, citing religious sentiments as the reason. To many, the idea of gender equality is preposterous.

On this International Day of the Girl Child, I call for a paradigm shift away from regressive ideals of patriarchy and misogyny towards progressive ideals such as feminism and gender equality. Women deserve a place at the table and should no longer accept mere crumbs. It’s crucial that we actively participate in politics, as the policies formulated there significantly impact women’s lives. We must represent our own interests.

It's disheartening that some individuals, especially men, view feminism as the enemy without taking the time to research its true essence. I’ve grown tired of explaining feminism to those unwilling to educate themselves. If you choose to cling to outdated beliefs, I bid you farewell and hope you enjoy your stay in the past.

Gender equality isn’t about making everyone the same; it’s about leveling the playing field. It’s about recognizing that even within the same gender, there are disparities in terms of strength, abilities, disabilities, social status, and more. In this international day of the girl child, let’s advocate for a world where feminism and gender equality are embraced, where men become allies in the fight against gender inequality, and where all individuals are free to pursue their dreams, unburdened by the chains of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism.


Like this story?
Join World Pulse now to read more inspiring stories and connect with women speaking out across the globe!
Leave a supportive comment to encourage this author
Tell your own story
Explore more stories on topics you care about