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Emergence of The ‘Rational Woman’ And Yet to Accept The Man

by litfeed
2 mins read

By George Kimando

Last week’s article elicited some interesting views, especially from women. An intriguing thread was captured by one who attributed the rising conflict in families and society in general to what she calls the emergence of the rational woman, and the delay by the man to accept her.

According to her, the rational woman is not unreasonable and very well understands the evolving socio-economic dispensation where the woman plays a central role. Sometimes, she ‘plays dumb and blind’ to avoid conflict with the man, but he is taking rather too long to smell the coffee.

Yet, when she comes out with rational sense overriding the man’s, conflict emerges.

This view is largely shared by Gatimi Maranga, she of the ‘Wife Speak’ column in the Daily Nation, who argues that all women ever needed from their men is protection, not provision. Even traditionally, she points out, it’s the women who worked the farms and put food on the mat for their husbands and children.

She just needed to be safe from marauding animals and enemy warriors.

“A man’s role has not diminished or gotten blurred by the woman; women were always the provision fulcrum around which families and communities revolved”, she asserts.

A doctorate student at the University of Nairobi who sought anonymity posits that patriarchy in African sociology has played the biggest role in this disconnect with the emergence of this ‘rational woman’, a view buttressed by Henry Mutebe, a gender and social development programme manager in Uganda.

In a paper titled ‘Why Being a Man is Becoming More Difficult’, Henry points out that formerly, men had access to land (which they inherited from their fathers and didn’t need to buy), information, had the education, money, and most of the social capital needed for survival.

In essence, man’s role as provider and head of the family was by default. He didn’t have to do much except to own the means of production and utilize the privileges society (patriarchy) gave him.

Today, access to these resources that made men have a clear advantage over women is open to women too.

Indeed, many women are increasingly overtaking men in these circles. Many have their own land, are better educated, have more money and social clout than their male counterparts.

Thus, the basis for privileges formerly automatic to men is constantly being questioned.

And this is what many men, these experiential scholars and commentators argue, are yet to fully come to terms with.

*Benith (not her real name, on her request) sheds another interesting angle to this ‘rational woman’. She just turned forty, is a renowned corporate player, very successful, single and is contemplating settling down. She would love to have at least a child of her own and perhaps adopt another.

First things first, she starts. Let no woman, however successful in their careers, lie to you that they don’t care about a relationship with a man. The question is: what kind of a man?

Without being immodest, she says, i clearly don’t need a man to provide for me. So i have to ask myself, why am i getting married to him?

I have no illusions, she continues, am unlikely to meet a man with my financial success and material status, but he has to be clear on his vision; i’d hate to settle with one who is comfortable doing nothing because i can pay the bills.

Several other related responses give credence, however unempirical, to this school of thought.

In my considered view, these are great pointers to conversations, intentional programmes and outcomes that could be instrumental in largely dealing with rising gender conflicts.

With the emergence of the rational woman, can the rational man arise?

NB: If in need of help on any matter mental health, counselling, therapy, rehab or related issues, kindly get in touch with us at Tunza Kenya.
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