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Drawing Parallels

I was walking in the courtyard the other day, enjoying a warm breeze and relatively clear scented air for the first time in weeks. During this walk I was thinking of some issues that some friends of mine are going through in their marriages, namely, with men who have belittled them for years and eventually left them blind-sided for something else. I am not speaking for a large group of women, nor am I saying that these issues are the norm or the rule, however, it struck me and hasn't left my mind for a while now.

For the years I have known these women, I have seen them work themselves to the bone to have their children raised well and to provide a good home for their husbands. I have been there for them as they described about how their significant other slowly became bitter that they were the sole providers, became stingy with money, began to mock them for not having a 'real job' and went from being a partner and lover in their relationship, to a roommate. This isn't an isolated 1-2 cases, this is in a group of over 500 women, out of which, roughly 30% have been going through a divorce now this year alone.

Many of these women, had dropped their careers or jobs, at their husband's suggestions or having a mutual discussion and compromise on the subject. As such, since their marriages are ending, many of these women have been finding themselves still largely dependent upon their ex partners, financially. Many have a lack of work history, or 'qualified' skills and as such, have a difficult time finding work to support themselves, particularly in the midst of a messy divorce. The lack of resources available to them is astounding, as they are still 'married' by law even though they are trying to become independent so as to divorce.

These same women, however, have commented on how horrible it must be to live here in Pakistan, being fully dependent upon one's husband, and not being able to get out if they need to. Granted, I know that there are a lot more programs available to women in the states, but I struck by those thoughts. It really got me to thinking of how, both places, women suffer in silence at the hands of the very people we are supposed to trust the most, and usually a lot more than we know are suffering. Then it led me to an idea.

There needs to be something done for women in situations like these. There needs to be more resources to help them find work, to help them find resources and child-care, to be able to get on their own feet quickly rather than having to suffer longer, usually in silence. Yes, there's Public Assistance and Food Stamps in the states, and some areas are really great with providing even more resources, however, I think it needs to go further than that, be in every town, every county at least. I am talking about having, more free skills classes, to add skills to a resume, things that gives women knowledge about career options. I want to do something about that, for women in both countries. Too many aren't given the proper skills and knowledge in ways to look for help, resources etc. I would like to remedy that, and make it broad-scale some day. Not just teaching women to sew, but I mean, help them on a grander scale than that. I have no idea on how to do that, but I think I have found a passion, something I have been looking for for years now, and it is my dream to make it come true.

This also includes a need for classes to teach boys and men, about ways to support women, to encourage them and to learn to not get sucked into the sorts of power plays that partnerships can turn into over stresses due to money and daily life, to give them an insight into the plight of their sisters, wives, daughters, etc.

Clearly I haven't thought this all through, but my electricity shuts off here soon and I'd like to get the idea down while I still have time and before it leaves my head :).


Emily Garcia's picture

Catch 22

Hello GoriShadow!

Welcome to World Pulse and thank you for sharing your unique perspective with us on this issue. I'm reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg for my book group - this wasn't my first pick, but I'm enjoying it more than I expected - and she talks a lot about how advances for women in the US workplace are counteracted by the stagnation within the home regarding perceptions of the "woman's role." One example of this she gives is when a couple gets pregnant, people congratulate the husband, but when they congratulate the wife they ask the qualifying question, "What are you going to do about work?" It is just assumed that parenthood would not affect a man's career. This sets women up to drop out of the workforce or greatly reduce their hours, which limits their financial security in the case of divorce. It seems that free skill-building classes would be one great way to assist these women.

I'm wondering if there are people here in our World Pulse community that have gone through a similar experience and can speak to how they worked to become financially dependent.

Thank you again for sharing, and looking forward to hearing more from you soon.

Warm wishes,

Emily Garcia
World Pulse Online Community Lead

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