What Kenyan women MUST learn from Lisa Gaitho
Would you divide cooking roles with your spouse?
The reactions to Lisa’s comments were noisy and messy, as our friend Weta would put it.
But amid the noise, a critical message was lost.
I agree with Lisa’s manifesto of a good marriage or relationship – save for her insistence on material and monetary forms of affection.
You see, the rise of the so-called career woman and the noble campaign for gender equality is giving modern women a false illusion that traditional marriage roles are entirely useless.
Traditionally, the man provided, protected the family, and made all the decisions without consulting the rest of the family (which often included several wives).
Let’s all agree that this misogynistic set up is out-dated and has no place in modern times.
Should gender roles be distributed democratically in such a way that the husband and wife hold equal powers? I don’t think so.
In a debate with my female colleagues, I found their expectation of marriage to be extremely out of tandem with our upbringing and socialisation – particularly for Christians and Africanists.
They argue that since everyone is working to provide for the family, gender roles should be distributed equally and democratically.
So, for example, when it comes to cooking, we should have a duty roster where she will be cooking on Mondays and I on Tuesdays…and so on.
I responded by telling them that many young people are failing because of applying western ideas under the guise of a “modern marriage”.
I was reminded of a friend’s marriage which ended after sustained pressure from the husband’s family.
Trouble had started when his uncles visited him in Nairobi and as they sipped their beer in the sitting room, the wife interrupted him to go attend to his roster in the kitchen.
“It is your day babe” she told her innocently. My friend was so embarrassed and tried to change the power structure - it was too late!
A man, and particularly the African man, is socialised to become the head of the family and wield some authority.
I will end my case by quoting her during a previous interview with Citizen TV:
“All of woman’s experiences, including child birth, child bearing, taking care of the family cooking, being a career woman. All of those are experiences that you must have and demand as a woman.”
“There is nothing to say that if you are an educated professional woman, if you are at the top of the corporate ladder, somehow the kitchen becomes taboo. Nothing could be further from the truth!"
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