In the Woman's Empire
Four decades have passed since the women's liberation movement. Nearly half a century later, can we say that women achieved their mission? Are their lives better today? What level of satisfaction do they have in their personal, family, and professional lives?
In the seventies, women took up a movement of emancipation to become free from the yoke of man. They fought against male dominance and the patriarchal society that kept women in slavery and subordination levels, against discrimination in the education of females vs. males, against laws and customs that forced women to follow their husband’s place of residence and to be submissive and obedient to their husbands, against unpaid domestic work, and against raising children alone. They declared slogans of equality, freedom, free love, work and economic independence, and birth control.
Armies of women worldwide went to college and fought men side by side to earn a place in the intellectual, professional, and political life. Women fought the male supremacy and conquered vast tracts of reason and intellect. They founded their empire, which was consolidated in the visions of the late twentieth century, and they took over male mentality.
The manipulated men had to adapt to their new role. The new conquerors imposed their law. It was the end of male domination, the rule of man, and a new rule emerged: The Empire of Women.
Inspired by this liberationist movement, I confronted my father's authority. The family gatherings flowed into combat. I defended my desire for freedom, autonomy and independence, and my father, from the position of a conservative patriarch, defended the sensitive and privileged position of women: the honor of the female.
As a legal scholar and legislator, politician and brilliant scholar, my father had fun with the debate, and apart from the times in which he exercised his authority to stop my desire for freedom, he enjoyed contradicting the feminist slogans. He cited the news of the day, confirming that the woman's brain was smaller than that of men, "See,” he said ironically, “Scientists say there is no doubt the woman's brain weighs less than men’s. Therefore, they can not be the same.”
“Look daughter,” he would say. “What is certain is that women cannot be equal to men just because of motherhood. My dear, don’t you realize that in this struggle women are becoming more chained? Don’t you realize you are losing privileges?”
Years later I remembered my father’s reflections and I understood him.
Women now have a double shift on their back, and they fight to vindicate their right to care for their children because this is now considered a minor chore. They must negotiate with their husbands the right to stay home. Men settled in their dominions, and many are marginalized in the labor competition, so they prefer the quiet stay at home. Women lose their land and privileges, which used to be their right.
Motherhood is postponed. Diseases and masculine vices plague them, and they no longer cultivate the virtues of the women of the past. The ancient wisdom of grandmothers is silenced by the arrogant intelligence of career women, and the man is silent today. He reconciles differences or simply abandons the battlefield, and he has joined the growing ranks of the third sex.
The tasks that used to be performed by a single woman’s wisdom and love are now performed by qualified specialists. Marriage falls apart at the first obstacle, and promises of love are forgotten at the sound of the first siren. Children come and go from home to home, having to call the current partner their spouse or parent, and an army of lonely men and women are installed in our societies.
Women had some achievements in the revolution, no doubt, but where is the voice of women on the world stage? Whose example are they following? What is their contribution to building a better world? This is now their new challenge.