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‘Eyeopening’ should describe this book for me. I thought I was not a feminist, but turn out I am after reading this book.
I believed that men and women were different and there was no need to compare cause they were not comparable. Comparing men and women for me is not apple to apple, that belief still continues.
However in this book, Sheryl argues that both are complimentary to make a better world. Men need more women to lean in whether in their organization (read office) and they need to be more dedicated for the house chores and raising children. Women’s contribution in both office and at home are as crucial as men’s. Both have an incredible impact which we should focus on, aside from what they’re not capable of due to their biological aspects. (Men are not design for labor or nursing, for example).
He for She
I think Sheryl emphasizes this idea a lot in her writing. I am for her belief that there will be no gender equality when men, the beneficiary of this male dominant world, do not join women to strive their opportunities.
I watched ‘Kim Ji Young: Born 1982’ movie last year, and found that Sheryl’s idea is pretty much the same. Even when your hubby wants to help more at home, the people next to him or next to you might against your decision to take more part in earnings. We, women, are still considered the moms who are responsible for and expected to raising children. It is very different from men who are expected to excel at work so they have higher career to finance their family.
Problem is, women are also capable of doing the same things. Men, with more willingness to learn, will also able to run the home and raise kids. Even dads can nurse their kids as mom can pump anytime thanks to modern technology.
“I believe more women can lead more in the workplace. I believe men can contribute more in the home. And I believe that this will create a better world, one where half our institution are run by women and half our homes are run by men.”
Gender Equality in Indonesia
In a nutshell, I was raised by a single mom since I was 12. I didn't know how it must have been hard for her to raise a daughter by herself. She should work to support me and at the same time had to provide time, attention and love. I protested my mom so many times cause she could not attend many of my school meetings. That time, I thought she loved her work more than me. But later, I knew she was trying to be mom and dad in the same time.
Today, I have become a grown up woman myself in Indonesia. I can say that our situation is a bit better compared to other countries, especially America. We are paid equally to men. Many institutions still give women salary for their 3 months maternal leave as well.
However there are still a lot of things needed to be improved. Girls in our rural areas are still married underage due to economical and education reasons. Unluckily, some are then divorced one-sidedly or trapped in polygamy marriage so they perpetuate the life under poverty circle.
Moreover, our choice to be a stayed home mom or career mom is still judge poorly. Full time care giver mom are seen as dependent to their man, while full time career women are considered care-less on their children, which both are not true.
The good news is I believe career moms are raising as our economy is growing fast in Indonesia, but stayed home dads are still taboo. Men who want to take a break from work for their children are seen weird or even incapable.
That doesn’t leave any choice for men than working. And that also doesn’t give so many options for women to, sometimes, sacrifice their career when it comes to raising a kid.
“My greatest hope is that my son and my daughter will be able to choose what to do with their lives without external or internal obstacles slowing them down or making them question their choice.”
I recommend this book for women and men who are questioning about their decision if they should choose work or house. This book is also suitable for young women and men who want to see the strength of female leadership cause Sheryl provides so many research in this book.
However, I started to read this book in 2017 and just finished it in 2020 which should tell you something inexplicably, I hope. But it is not that the book is boring, no. It is fascinating. It’s just packed with research (which you might need to cite in gender issues writing essays). The good thing is Sheryl has combined those data and theories with her personal experience as a self-acknowledged woman.