One of the major gender roles set apart for women is that of the nurturer. But nurturing takes time. It keeps women away from other activities. It drains us emotionally. It makes us places nurturing above other roles. It costs money. It reduces resources available to women.
I was born into a family of 7 children and I have 3 children myself. While I am a huge supporter of family life, I believe nurturing is a huge factor of inequality between the genders. Women are raised to believe that nurturing is an exclusively for women. This is deduced from the inter dependency required during the first year or so of a child’s life. But nature does not make mistakes, it was not intended for intense inter dependency to go on forever.
In fulfilling gender roles, some women believe that everything else takes a back seat to nurturing. In my opinion this is a box that women create to limit themselves. We have an inherent gift of multitasking and delegation. Yet, a good number of us spend an inordinate amount of time planning and thinking about our roles as mothers or wives. Consider too that other women will go against their instincts to perform these roles due to societal norms, even when they are honestly not interested in being nurturers.
Nurturing is an important role for both genders. The inter dependency between a mother and child should be balanced with a father’s participation. A father is just as valuable a parent as a mother and is key to the emotional growth of a child. It’s a partnership and not a sole proprietorship! So dads, bringing in the bacon is not enough. Children also need your socialization, encouragement, advise, direction and love.
Having a support system is important for any woman who has a child. We need time to do other things for our own mental stability. Yet, many women pour in too much time on their children and into their children’s life. You don’t need to take your child everywhere. You don’t need to be a drone mum using espionage-like tactics to constantly keep an eye on your child. My children surprise me everyday with their innovative thinking when I give them space to explore and make their own choices. So mums, child rearing is not a 24 hour business. Balance it out, live your life. Be the lioness who hunts and leads with the lion, even though she has cubs.
Technology equalises the imbalance
Society can balance gender roles with technology. Women can use technology to participate more to society and not feel stifled or limited to the nurturing role. With technology, we can contribute from anywhere and work faster. Women can handle domestic roles and still have time to pursue their aspirations and dreams. For example, parents can can supervise their homes in their absence through nanny cams.
Jobs that were previously time and energy consuming can be done quicker and easily with technological innovation. Women have the choice to participate be both mothers and professionals. Education, personal development and skill acquisition are available at a click of a button. E-learning platforms allow users to interact, access premier education without from the comfort of home. I personally favour listening to audiobooks so that I can multitask.
Furthermore, technological advances in the prevention and treatment in medicine mean parents don’t have to fret so much over children’s health. This allow parents time to pursue other pursuits. A number of the restrictions and barriers have been lifted by technology. We need to come up with more strategies to equalize gender roles so that men and women can live fulfilling and significant live while still being nurturers. Technology provides us that opportunity, why not capitalize on it?