Saturday, March 8, 2008

Woman: Equal and Free

I am for equality between men and women. But first, we have to define what equality means. For me, it’s not just about having the same number of women and men in public office or in power… or doing the same things that men do. It’s not about the quantity. I think it should be about being given equal opportunities based on what women CAN do. I believe it’s better to be denied a responsibility because one doesn’t have the necessary skills and competence than be given the task for the SOLE REASON of being a woman. I am convinced that being chosen for one’s qualifications and capabilities is much healthier for a woman’s self-respect than just being selected due to her gender and nothing more.

There's an adage that says respect begets respect. If women have self-respect, they would, in turn, earn respect from others. It is my thinking that some women get maligned because they don’t have enough self-esteem. They allow themselves to be denigrated due to lack of self-worth. If only they recognize their value, not only as a woman but as a person, they would not put-up with disrespect and being condescended to.

And to achieve self-respect, self-awareness is an important factor. This calls for an inward journey, a kind of “soul-searching”, of putting a mirror in front of us and seeing ourselves for who we really are. A self-evaluation is necessary: we appraise ourselves without any self-delusions; we gauge our abilities and limitations without self-deception.We must strip down to our real bare self and asses our strengths and inadequacies. Correlate our self-perception with our authentic self. If the fist corresponds with the latter, that’s good. If there are discrepancies, then, one must work on achieving a correct concept of “who am I”.

Once a woman attained this, being “free” is not far behind. I believe a “free” woman is not just about being able to do what men can do, or having a high-flying career or excelling in men-dominated areas. It is not only about trying to be professionally or financially successful. It is something deeper than that. Being “liberated” is finding out what we want to do and having the courage to act on it. It’s not only about breaking traditions or getting out of the mold. It is about BEING who you are.

A “free’ woman is not someone who possess success or fame or supremacy over men and the “traditional” woman. A true “free” woman is someone who doesn’t pretend or imitate someone deemed to be the independent, liberal, modern woman. The emancipated woman is someone who accepts herself, work within the framework of her LIMITATIONS and POTENTIALS, and come out FULLY AWARE of her self. With this awareness of her PERSONAL principles and priorities, she takes a firm hand in leading the kind of life she truly wants for herself. We do something because we CHOOSE to do it. A wife and a mother who chose to give up her professional life and focus on her family BASED on her OWN values and beliefs is worth no less than her working counterpart. And vice-versa. It is a matter of answering to our “vocation” and working our way to reach it. It is being able to look straight in the eyes of our reflection and say “ I am ME.”

Liberation is the result of reflection, evaluation and decision to be who we can be… to be the BEST we can be. We do break something, but it’s not traditions and customs. It is more of shattering our pre-conceptions and misconceptions of our abilities, of our worth, of what we really want in life. We have to FIND OUT who we are, LOVE who we are and BECOME who are. Only then, we can say we are truly “free”.

And I believe this does not only apply to women, but to people from all walks of life as well. Anyway, enough pondering! Here’s to International Women’s Day! Cheers!


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