President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe during the swearing-in ceremony in the Oval Office, of U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson on March 27, 2013.
By Nwachukwu Joshua.
Social networks are lively and feminists, agog with the tinkling sounds of broken glass hitting the floor as a sister strikes at the top, shattering the much fabled “glass ceiling” meant to keep women forever underdogs. The appointment of Julia Pierson as the first Female Director of the US Secret Service is no doubt a welcome development in a man-centred society like the U.S. “Pierson is breaking the mould by becoming the first woman to lead the male-dominated agency,” a self-satisfied president Obama jibed. Similarly, a year ago, Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer chanted to girls in a graduating class at New York’s Barnard College, “Lean in to your career and put your foot on the gas pedal.”
Yet, even as we applaud this great achievement, and encourage more women to reach for the sky, it is also an important moment, I believe, to ponder again on the role of women in society; to mull over what is the right balance between family life and work life, and to judge how well we have fared in these aspects.
That a man and woman have equal rights, I do not dispute. What I contest however is the mistaken ideology that a man and a woman is equivalent or alike, and, therefore, can and should do the same things. This ideology is behind the agonizing yell for same-sex marriage we hear all over the airwaves today; but this will take us into deep waters and right now, I would rather avoid such waters.
What I should like to talk about, and perhaps draw attention to is the unfortunate and wholehearted swallowing of a dangerous feminist doctrine of the 21st century by young girls of our time; a doctrine that sneers at motherhood, calling it a waste of time, an economically worthless and socially disvalued enterprise.
On a staple diet of this feminist creed, young girls are steadily coming to abhor anything domestic, and are desperately aping men in everything.
I suppose that female emancipation should not mean, for a woman, a clumsy imitation of a man and his antics: deep down, this will be false and unjust, an acknowledgement of female inferiority. Rather, true emancipation of women, I believe, should mean the development of all that is properly woman. Femininity is rich, beautiful and to a woman, proper.
True, many women about to reach the peak of their career are with the doubts about family and career. Which takes precedence? How best can they be balanced? Wherein lies happiness of mind and body? All these are question many women in one time or another have had to ask themselves. Ultimately, majority have learnt that children make them happiest, without which life has little or no meaning.
One such woman that had agonized over these questions for many years was Phoebe Philo, she resigned her position as creative director of the French fashion house, Chloe, so that she could spend more time with her 1-year-old daughter, Maya. Another woman, Michele Flournoy, also, stepped down four years ago as under-secretary of defence for policy, the third-highest job in the U.S department, to spend more time at home with her three children, two of whom were teenagers. Again, Karen Hughes left her position as the counsellor to President George W. Bush after a year and a half in Washington to go home to Texas for the sake of her family. Another woman, Mary Matalin, who had spent two years as an assistant to Bush and the counsellor to Vice president Dick Cheney stepped down to spend more time with her daughters. Anne-Marie Slaughter the first woman director of policy planning at the State Department resigned also in order to take care of her son. The list could go on forever.
I am sure many will make fun of these women; some may even go as far as calling them lunatic for their voluntarily ditching “power” for “parenthood.” I, on the contrary, would applaud these women as heroes. We all should celebrate them because they chose to die so that society may thrive; they chose to hide and to disappear that many may shine. Mind you, society needs hundreds, thousand of well brought up citizens, now more than ever. So let us help more young girls be proud homemakers, and let us sing the praises of any woman who choose to stay at home looking after their babies over a promising career. My mom made this sacrifice for me and my siblings and I am very grateful she made that choice. Thank you mama I love you.