What is Patriarchy?
Patriarchy can be simply defined as male domination or control. It is the domination and control of the male gender in all aspects of society be it in industry, corporate life, marriage, the church, and also politics and leadership. Patriarchy is the unequal distribution of opportunity, power, wealth, and resources to the male gender whether knowingly or unknowingly in society due to the traditional dominance of the male gender and traditional gender roles that stipulate men as somewhat superior to women.
As a result, a Patriarchal society can also be envisaged as a society where women are seen as inferior to men and lacking the ability, capability, intellect, skill, and wherewithal to steer society in several roles and positions be it in leadership, at home, or professionally.
How Does Patriarchy Affect Society?
Patriarchy affects society as it more often than not leads to gender discrimination where women are set aside and left behind wrongfully including being excluded from holding certain positions of power or having the freedom to make their destinies. A good example of this is forced marriages where patriarchy may lead women to be married off against their will, to service the needs of patriarchal society be it in terms of dowry, for family ties or to exercise some sort of influence among families or communities.
Patriarchy also affects society in that the male gender gets too much of the action and resources at any particular point in time while the female gender is denied equal rights, opportunities, and resources. As a result, women may end up discriminated against or left behind in the overall progress of society and in the part they play in bettering and shaping the future of society.
Women’s Role in Patriarchal Society
In a patriarchal society, women become defaulted to the sidelines where they lack enough opportunities and resources to have an equal and due impact on what course society takes. For instance, women may be sidelined and given jobs that are wrongfully designated and designed as inferior such as housekeeping, rearing children, and farming or livestock-keeping jobs. Patriarchal society does this as a way to ensure that the best opportunities and roles go to the men whom it sees as somewhat superior and deserving only the best and nothing less.
The Subjugation of Women's Rights
Women’s diminished role in a patriarchal society is envisaged as the subjugation of their rights and this has led to movements calling for the equal and fair treatment of women in comparison to their male counterparts. For instance, in the corporate world, it is now the norm that companies set aside a good portion of their top jobs and positions for women, to allow for gender equality and gender equity. Gender equality is essentially giving the same opportunities, facilitation, and resources to both genders. On the other hand, gender equity is the state of balance between the chances and opportunities given to both genders.
Do We Live in a Patriarchal Society?
We live in a more gender-equal society but it can still be considered patriarchal. An excellent example of this is looking at the gender of presidents all over the world. Women hold less than a third of presidential positions globally. As such, society can be said to be a patriarchal society even as efforts are being made to recognize women for their role in shaping the future of society and affording them the same opportunities and respect as their male counterparts.
Moving the World Towards Gender Equality
The world is slowly becoming gender-equal and women are being empowered day in and day out through education, career advancement, and a relooking of the traditionally patriarchal gender roles in society. Inevitably, men are also taking up numerous roles that were otherwise considered inferior and set aside for women in a patriarchal society. These include housekeeping, caring for children, and care jobs such as caring for the sick and tending to livestock.
Examples of patriarchy include a small number of women in leadership positions across numerous aspects of society such as in corporate and national leadership, politics, professional settings, and also in the academic field. Women also have a smaller margin of business ownership which can be exemplified best by looking at the biggest law firms in the world. Only a small number of these have lead partners as women with some not even having women in partnership positions. Another good example of patriarchy is the defaulting of women to repressive norms such as having to dress, act or work in a certain way.
When women are not afforded the same rights and respect as men, then society can be said to be patriarchal. What exemplifies this best is traditional marriage norms such as having women be the submissive partner within the marriage. The same can be said for traditional gender roles that label and designate women as housekeepers and the ones responsible for rearing children and tending to the immediate needs of the home.
Patriarchal Society Definition
A patriarchal society can be best defined as a society that uplifts men while it holds down women. A society that only caters to the overall and entire needs of men while it barely caters to some of the needs and rights of women, can be said to be patriarchal.
A patriarchal society is also one that gives most of the opportunities, resources, and power to men with only a small margin of women being afforded the same facilitation. The balance point between patriarchy and gender equality can be said to be the point where women have the same facilitations as men in terms of leadership, power, resources, and also rights and freedoms.
Patriarchy and Gender Inequality
Patriarchy exacerbates gender inequality in numerous ways. It favors the men while forsaking the women. For instance, if a woman has to work twice as hard to earn as much as a man, then patriarchy has bolstered gender inequality. The same goes for undue or unnecessary questioning of the capability and ability of women to undertake certain roles or positions in society.
For instance, patriarchy can be seen to contribute to gender inequality when society questions whether a woman can take up and amicably perform leadership roles in the church or religious practices. The same can be said for other aspects of society such as in sports, entertainment, health, and also in politics, and political leadership.
The Liberation of Women
The liberation of women from and out of patriarchy has meant that women are afforded the same opportunities, rights, and respect as men. This entails getting women educated equally as men and affording them the same opportunities. Women are today more empowered than they have ever been and are constantly proving that they are capable, eager, and willing to take responsibility at the helm of leadership in society.
Women are in most parts of the world doing better than their male counterparts further showing that patriarchy is a thing of the past. Gender inequality is being stemmed out and society is not only looking to be gender-equal but also to have gender equity. It is important to ensure that women get all they need, including respect and the respect of their rights and freedoms, to propel them to realize their full potential.
What the Liberation of Women Means for Men
On the flip side, men are feeling and fearing being left behind as the female revolution takes hold. Men are now having to show their worth and compete for the same positions with women. Women can be relentless at going for what they want and men are slowly but surely feeling the heat from the resilience and strength of women in all aspects of society.
Unlike in the past, men are learning that women are as good as they are and in some cases, even better. Women have shown pinpoint sharpness in all they do and bring a kind of powerful consolidating power to their roles in society. For instance, women are turning out to be formidable forces in politics and political leadership. Women have been seen to mount very strong political campaigns and to rally their supporters with ease and vigor, in a way that has meant that men are slowly being left behind.
Will Patriarchy Come to an End?
The liberation of women does not mean that patriarchy will somehow disappear into the darkness. Unfortunately, society is still very patriarchal in some aspects and the ‘mentality of patriarchy’ is still reigning supreme. Women are still being questioned in terms of their capability and ability to take up and impressively perform certain roles. These include engineering, architecture, art, music, sports, and even religious leadership.
As such, the fight that is part of what I call the ‘liberation of women’ is by no means over and, unfortunately, it is even a ‘fight’ in the first place. Patriarchy will be said to be a thing of the past when women do not have to fight for their rights or their rightful place in society.
Is Patriarchy Dead?
Patriarchy was always on its deathbed as women have always been the ones holding intrinsic power in society. Women have always been the ones ensuring food always reached the table. They have always been the ones rearing children and ensuring that there is generational continuity. Women have always been at the helm of power as the queens and wives of powerful men. However, they never held actual and authoritative power.
Women have for the longest time been sidelined to only hold ‘soft power’ in a way, without being given the actual authority to exercise recognized and enforceable power. For example, corporates have always depended on women to produce their goods or to undertake office work as secretaries, writers, etc. but never allowed women to become the owners of said companies or the actual employers. Women were rarely allowed to be department heads or to hold supervisory power even as they were and to this day still are, the backbone of the corporate world, industry, politics, and even society in its entirety.
Women are the Fabric and Backbone of Society
Women are the fabric of society. They bring life to the world and show love like has never been seen. They do all they can for their children and bring them up to be the leaders of society. All kings are born of women and these women, even as they have not necessarily been queens, are queens in the sense that they are supremely the backbone of our world. As such, time is well overdue for women to be granted their rightful recognition as the fabric and backbone of society.
Women should also be given the respect they deserve as they do so much for society and are equal to their male counterparts. As such, the liberation of women has not meant anything if it has not bolstered gender equality and equity and granted women all they need to achieve their full potential. For example, education is not impactful to girls if it still teaches patriarchal viewpoints and religion is still not gender-equal or neutral if women are still not allowed to hold certain religious leadership positions or roles.
Equal Resources and Opportunities for Both Genders
The liberation of women will only truly mean gender equity when women are given the actual keys to the kingdom and not only marginal representation in all the important roles therein. Women should be given an equal and equitable role in all aspects of society. Men, in turn, and what will become the former patriarchal society should not feel threatened in any way but should pave the way for women to become even more empowered.
Tackling Abuse and Childhood Trauma Inflicted Under Patriarchy
Even as women get a more central role in society, their uprising should not be marred with the denial of men or the male gender of their rights. It is not proper to overcompensate for patriarchy and hurt the advancement of the male gender. The boy-child, for instance, should not be left behind or ignored as the world rushes to adequately cater to the needs and aspirations of the girl-child.
The male gender also suffers ills similar to those women have suffered traditionally and true gender equality necessitates that both genders are afforded the same opportunities, resources, and facilitation to pursue their dreams, goals, and aspirations. Traditionally, the idea of patriarchy has led to abuse against both genders including mental, physical, and sexual abuse, trauma, and even extreme forms of abuse such as slavery.
Dealing with Sexual Abuse for Both Genders
One of the most conspicuous forms of abuse has traditionally been sexual abuse that both genders have suffered over the last few decades. For instance, both boys and girls have traditionally suffered sexual abuse even in religious institutions such as the church. Boys have, for instance, been discovered to have suffered sexual abuse in the thousands in the Catholic Church. On the other hand, girls have traditionally been excluded from religious power and have suffered numerous fits of abuse including rape and other forms of sexual abuse.
To make matters worse, some girls have suffered death as is the case with Canada and traditional religious schools where thousands of bodies of buried children were discovered. Under the guise of patriarchy, abuse has mainly been directed towards the female gender but that is not to say that the male gender has not also suffered abuse. As such, both genders must be afforded the same facilitations especially when it comes to dealing with trauma related to abuse and also childhood trauma as a whole.
Dealing with Gender-Centric Issues
The male gender also suffers from gender-centric issues such as alcoholism and drug abuse. This is not to say that women and girls do not also suffer the same, but alcohol, drug, and substance abuse issues are mainly prevalent in boys and men. The same can be said for incarceration as seen in the mass incarceration of black and minority males in the United States.
Dealing with Drug and Substance Abuse
Unfortunately, drug and substance abuse issues exacerbate mass incarceration where a good number of those incarcerated are not only from minority groups but have also been incarcerated due to minor drug-related offenses. Such realities are important issues that need to be tackled and show that patriarchy has not only been detrimental to the rights and freedoms of women but also those of men. Therefore, tackling the ills of patriarchy necessitates enacting measures that cater to specific problems such as childhood trauma and abuse, alcoholism, drug and substance abuse, and mass incarceration but also doing it in a way that equally caters to both genders.
Mental health Illness and Suicide
The problems facing each gender should be addressed and resources should be provided equally to both genders to not only ensure gender equality but also gender equity. For example, in the issue of mental illness, men are seen to be more affected and as such, resources should be directed to both genders but with the realization that men are more susceptible to mental illness and ultimately, suicide.
The criminalization of suicide should also be tackled and suicide should be decriminalized for both genders while facilitations are put in place to avoid suicides which are unavoidable deaths. The idea that suicide is committed has been faltered by specialists and can be linked to colonialism where its criminalization commenced. There is also the need for education and the realization that there that mental illness and mental health are distinguished.
Mental Illness vs Mental Health
Mental illness can be appreciated as the deterioration of mental health to the point that it affects the mental and even physical well-being of the individual. On the other hand, mental health can be appreciated as similar to overall physical health and is the state of being mentally healthy out of caring for your mental well-being, avoiding and coping with stressors such as loss, and taking steps to avert the deterioration of your mental wellbeing, such as going for counseling or therapy.
Is Patriarchy Dying?
Patriarchy may not be over but it is on its deathbed. Even so, it should not mean that efforts to ensure gender equality and equity are only directed at one gender. Both genders should be afforded the same facilitation and opportunities, to ensure that the world becomes a better place for all.