Mothers’ Stories

Why our society is against women's aspirations?

Why our society is against women's aspirations?
March 07 , 2019
Sarah Shafagoj Sarah Shafagoj
Sarah Shafagoj, a proud mama to three boys 10, 8 and 2.5,  She studied marketing at the University of Jordan and she is... more

I never really considered myself a feminist or anything of the sort, but lately, I have come across stories and incidents that triggered feminist frustrations within me and I found it so depressing that I had to address it, given that we are in 2019 and all! 

This month, we celebrate both International Women's Day and Mother's Day, so allow me to salute all the women around the world. 

The issue I'm writing about today is far from the celebrations and more about questioning some issues that I found disturbing: the issue of women in high ranks in their fields of work. 

A dear friend of mine recently came to me to proudly announce that she'd decided to go for the "Big One," aka her PhD. I found it to be an incredible decision until she surprised me with a comment she had unfortunately received: "Who will marry you if you have a PhD?" 

What? Why would you marry someone who is not willing to be supportive of you and your aspirations, to begin with? I found myself feeling very frustrated. 

Women in higher ranks and positions, leaders, business owners, teachers, professors, etc, are a strong example of what women can do and what they can be. Why do we need to justify this to society? Who said that a woman is meant to stay at home and not have accomplishments? Who said she can't do both and still be with whom she desires? 

It's a stereotype that our society has grown up believing. It is hard for people living in a man's world to accept women who have aspirations and ambitions. Yes, we are in a more progressive era but we are still not quite there yet. 

Another woman I spoke to also admitted how tough it was for her when she decided to continue her studies abroad. On the one hand, she had support from her husband and some family members, which she appreciated, and on the other hand, some unsupportive people told her: "How can you still aspire to have a higher degree than your husband?" "You're not worthy of being a mother!" "You are trying to improve your status but at the price of wrecking your home." These people took it as far as swaying her husband's thoughts about his wife's decisions, and even more shockingly, they almost persuaded him to believe that she shouldn't take that step.

Another example - a positive one this time - was that of a woman who had all the support to continue her studies, getting both a Master's degree and a Doctorate. Her husband and family encouraged her and made sure to show their support. I'm happy to say that she raised four beautiful children throughout her journey. It was challenging but she managed. 

I can go on and on about different examples and stories of women who had both supportive and unsupportive families and husbands, but the key point here is that you do not need a partner who will make you give up on your dreams and limit your potential. 

I would proudly like to state myself as an example; I am celebrating myself every day for going back to work after 12 years. I have a wonderful and supportive husband and family. That is the beauty of a partnership, having the foundation be one of deep understanding and respect for one another. 

You cannot run away from an unsupportive father, brother or husband, but you have the choice to make things work for you, to talk sense into the people who are against you. And I really do hope this issue can no longer be a part of women's lives and our society.

I do not wish for men and women to be equal, rather I wish for us both to be treated as humans, no gender issues involved. We each have our roles and responsibilities and some days we will fail but on others we will succeed. This, after all, is what gives life a bit of sparkle. 

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