Women’s lib has been around for ages, literally ages. Or probably more correctly about an age. Throughout history there may have been initiatives by women, for women, for greater equality but it is in the last few centuries, call it “the secular era” that women’s equality and their rights have become such a strong focus.
Possibly the biblical injunction for men to dominate and women to be subject to them was accepted more specifically in a more religious time. Only a hundred years ago women did not yet have the right to vote in most countries, and today they still do not have many of the rights that some of the rest of us take for granted.
How have these changes benefited society as a whole? Are women better respected, more readily accepted as equals? Again at times and in some places they are. South Africa has strong movements and laws for gender equality and yet gender-based violence remains seemingly as strong as ever. One contributing factor to this could be that empowering women in isolation without the complementary focus on men’s role, attitudes and needs is still not well addressed. That is why, in MARFAM’s 2019 themes, that for the month of August is “Women and Men Matter”, not in isolation but walking side by side, in right relationships and for the good of both, as it were.
It will never be easy. There are all sorts of hangups, judgements and implications too. One serious implication is the effect on family life, an implication which might be deliberately avoided or too easily neglected but often quite negative. Ideally families do need a mother, but also a father to be present and of course children, but the whole family structure is a complex, developing and changing system which, in spite of many changes in recent times, is still recognised as forming the basis of a well-functioning society.
The Industrial Revolutions.
Much is written about the 4th Industrial Revolution today, the first three having happened in just the last 350 years. Although there was enormous development none of these periods necessarily provided the ideal social setting. The 1st Industrial Revolution from 1760, through development of the steam engine, replaced agriculture with industry, beginning the move from family farming towards urbanisation. The 2IR resulted from the invention and use of electricity and enabled mass production in large factories. 3IR introduced electronics, the information age. All these were advances and created wealth – for some – while potentially improving the quality of life for the many. Now we are heading for 4IR coupled with artificial intelligence. It is also being asked, “Have you thought about the relationship between human beings and machines, not just in the tech industry, but how it will impact our daily lives, even those of the most technologically challenged amongst us? As a country, we have to not only plan for the current and imminent future of our lived experiences, but also for the lived experiences in the far future as 4IR reaches its peak.” From Daily Maverick.
How are we considering the effects of artificial intelligence? Are we considering sufficiently well the relationships between women and men, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, female and male persons even those with different orientations? All of us are physical and psychological beings with the purpose and aim of living a good life as we experience the joys and pains inherent in loving relationships.
So, girls we’re entitled to enjoy Women’s Day, but not just selfishly. Let’s give thanks to God for the gift of our womanhood and what it means for ourselves, our families, society and God. TR FAMILY WEEKLY 7 AUGUST 2019
A WOMEN’S DAY PRAYER REFLECTION.
Woman and Man
“This woman Lord, is all eyes and body parts
So how do you expect me to relate to her?”
“The eyes are windows to the soul
And her body and yours were created in my image and likeness,
For love, community and complementarity.
So treat her tenderly, love her and become one, as We are One.”
“This man Lord, is so overpowering and strong,
He wants to stand alone and tall and be lord of all he surveys.”
“I created him to build and protect, to provide and care for…. In My name.
So lean on him, but become his soulmate too.
Be strong – yet soft,
Be courageous – yet gentle
Be the human touch that will make you both divine
As you experience My love made flesh.” TR 2000