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Friday, December 18th, 2009 - 6 comments

Can there be total equality between married people?

Men and women are different, although both are human and deserve human’s rights. However, they have gender disparities in many aspects of living: social, economic, culture and political. No boat can have two captains, however there can be a pilot and a co-pilot. Does marriage mean giving up some rights? Should women always follow men or can become equal partners?

Modernization brings new philosophy, ideologies, technology progress and various perceptions. Can tolerance, appreciation and partnership help avoid conflict? How can ensure human rights (and women’s rights) in marital relationship without violence, oppression and loss of dignity? How can we promote gender equality within the spirit of partnership? Many children come from broken homes due to the failure of their parents’ relationship.

Share your experiences and your expectations for the future of relationships in the modernization era for future generation. Can family harmony good relationships between men and women be developed with better education?

This is a response to the blog-post “A call to action: your views on violence against women?”

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The views expressed in this blog-post are solely those of the author.

Comments (6)

Saturday 19th December, 2009, 8:19pm

I think that equality between partners is possible, absolutely. I also think it's important to remember that "alike" and "equal" are two separate concepts. One can be alike and not equal, and one can be equal but not alike.

Erna Surjadi
Tuesday 22nd December, 2009, 3:34pm

Dear Wench and all,

Your straight forward comment is remarkable!
I think the understanding of those you have mentioned between alike and equal, namely sensitivity is needed in this modern world; those lead to equality concept which means not alike nor equal nor an equation either.
Equality means for equal access, opportunity, benefit and control. Most women who live in the centre of family don't have same access to information, education, health facilities, economy, development, decision making and so on if compared to men.

In marriage, it has never found two different persons and bodies become one character or integrated character; due to different inner lives, perceptions, background educations, cultures etc.; not even a twin! They may not have similar character though voice and appearance looked similar. Thus, the understanding, tolerance or sensitivity of other's preference, choices, and voices may support the partnership and gender equality between spouses. No body is perfect - women have specific needs that are different than men; however they may become complement to each other if the above sensitivity is addressed well in daily relationship.

Again we have to remember no body is perfect in this world; we could not do all things but together we could do something.
Gender sensitive spouse is supposed to give understanding to the limitation and the need of the partner. Sharing information, communication and technology within family members will bring the family into advancement as the future investment. Growing in family is a daily change for every moment in life: having children, promoting, increasing status, moving house, being sick - the best coping mechanism between spouses and among family members are lesson learnt in the whole life towards equality in marriage life.

Have a brighter New Year 2010 with new equality principle in love!
New Delhi, 22 December 2009

Gabriel Byarugaba
Friday 8th January, 2010, 6:27am

For African and many poor countries in Asia and Latin America, Uganda not unique in this case, equality is still far a dream to come true. many reasons standing in the way for realisation of equality in marriages. In poor countries where traditions are standing in the way for women to acquire property rights and ownership among others that would empower women economically as a good bargain for equality besides the belief in many cultures where men are leaders in initiating marriages, this reduces the discussion to "seeking increased say or rights" but not "equality". More issues that deserve mention include; strengthening democratic governance in developing countries and building strong institutions respecting rights of individuals and education for gender equality will develop into a success story.

Erna Surjadi
Wednesday 13th January, 2010, 9:12am

I agree with you Gabriel, women's rights is a must. Moreover that needs to be advocated to put others into equal access, equal opportunity and equal benefits; which implicitly declared in the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW, 1979). The international declaration of human rights 1993 explicitly mentioned that women's rights are integral part of human's rights.
However, when we talk about culture; particularly a patriarchy culture where it put men as number one the situation of women's rights is becoming permissive. Men are easily irritated when talking about your rights and my rights. In fact, even most women believe to patriarchy culture. Thus, we are 'stuck' to practical living and survival.

The egalitarian culture in the other hand promote equality as being put in Millennium Development Goals (MDG) no.3 'Promoting gender equality and women's empowerment'. I would like to remind that equality is not equation of same number but equal access, opportunity, control and benefit between men and women. Likely two hands - the right hand is stronger than the left hand; however we put soap, cleaning, caring as the same to each other. Without left hand we cannot give a hug or pray normally; without legs - the head can not walk. So nowadays, the world suggest for gender and human rights as new concept of running together; to promote better world for men and women. Working with men is promoted to support the MDG3.
Why? Because men are still holding the macro economy, most decision making, most resources; and most of all - the patriarchy culture is already embedded in people mindset. In the Western society where human rights implementation is better; they are still facing domestic violence. This is due to patriarchy culture with lack of communication as the intervening factor.

There is a long way to go nobody can deny it; but we have to try...; increase communication of gender equality and human rights.
May God help us towards harmonious family with the highest enjoyment of living environment within family.

Friday 15th January, 2010, 7:09am

Total equality is just impossible to achieve realistically speaking. It is nature that men by default are somehow superior to women, not in all aspects though, but somehow by default a man was created to be the provider and lead. I frankly think us women should stick to our nurturing roles an allow men to be men, stop fighting for equality where the can never be any. Marriage is a team sport, every player is important in order to win. Just because you are not captain of the team does not mean you should not play your role to its best. It also does not mean that you should challenge the captain with the purpose of being on the same level as him. I don't want to bring religion into the matter as that on its own is complex. I just personally feel that before you even go into marriage, you need to understand that you are giving up your independence in order to depend on someone else. Until one comes to terms with that, they will understand their purpose and role in the team.

Erna Surjadi
Friday 15th January, 2010, 5:00pm

Your opinion is truly enriching, Rebone.
Total equality is noted very difficult and may not be possible if we recall to the reality nowadays.
I remember one pastor mentioned in Sunday's worship; when I got married I have given up my rights to date other woman. I also gave up my rights to only take care my self, since my family needs me.

Those above actually doesn't mean we are loosing 'rights'; but we adapted one condition to other's rights and reducing the level for new situation. When we accepted spouse into our lives; we are not alone any more; so the rights is not husband's only or wife's only; but supposed to give both benefits and opportunity to have other aspect's rights. Husband stays home while the wife is sick; he is given his rights of playing chess with friends but he is also given rights to wife received support form husband.
This take and give situation may lead to equality condition between men and women.

Being the best in their roles and let women lead in certain roles is the beginning to start the equality of living together; though when we say women need to stay home and only men could be the bread-earner - we call those are stereotypes. Men and women may have their choices, voices and then forces to keep and stay alive; including supporting to each other in life!

However, the world is changing and growing! There are more men doing fashion, culinary and makeup; as well as many women leaders and executives now. This condition is encouraged since women know women, children and family better due to their lives are mostly surrounding family; women have also leadership potential and wisdom not only men. Thus, their roles are needed to support family survival for better advantages. Some women have been gifted and may help the whole family into advancement. Many men and women worked together in partnership; thus being equality is also possible.

The question now: is it true that most women will always be in the position behind men or as followers?
What about if by luck women received promotion and have higher income than the husband? Will women reject the condition and give it away to men? Will men accept if women take the opportunity for better condition?

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Guest Editor

Erna Surjadi

Regional Adviser Gender, Women and Health (GWH), World Health Organization


I am a medical personnel, statistician, computer system analyst, professional in human resources development, and scientist in sociology with a specialty in gender.

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