Equality is built at home Equality is built at home

Gender equality is a topic of discussion in some households. It is essential to talk about it and teach children by living it at home.

Rosa Guevara Quintero
Psychologist and sexologist, practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare

2010 is the year UN Women was created, a platform for gender equality with useful resources.

Before discussing how equality can be created and strengthened at home, it is necessary to look at the position and possibilities of both men and women in recent history and how they have been transformed into the current state of cultural and political movements promoting gender equality.

The context lived by women in previous decades placed them in an inferior position to men. “Women were believed to have less brain capacity than men,” states psychologist Rosa Guevara. “Even we thought we were different, but we were not. Fortunately, science took it upon itself to break down that belief and establish that we all have the same capabilities.”

Guevara explains that menstruation also took away women’s ability to hold down a steady job for many years: “women were limited to the home because of menstruation. Before the appearance of feminine hygiene products, handling it was not the most comfortable way to work.” She adds that it was seen as an illness and for working women it represented an interruption of their work dynamic. Thus, many made the decision to stay home and devote themselves to household chores and to raising children. “This also demanded a very large amount of time but there was no economic retribution; it was not productive.”

Times of change

The women’s revolution came to support the participation of women in the productivity of the family system and its dynamics. Both mom and dad began to work, and so did the struggle over the differences in salaries and the impossibility of accessing positions of power. A situation that was unthinkable for many men who were raised under the idea that they should be the providers of the home.

The situation has changed considerably in recent years; however, it varies according to the culture and possibilities of each country. In Colombia, for example, women are bosses in four of every 10 homes, according to figures provided by the DANE (2018). Because of the education received at home, their environment, the behavior of men and women around them, there are still many men who oppose this idea, and more so if it is a matter of giving them all the responsibility of the household. “Some see staying at home to do the dishes or take care of the children as an act of disability. They see it as a loss of the image or idea of masculinity that they have,” explains Rosa Guevara. “Many are not ready for this reality; we have a long way to go in terms of education.”

She also adds that if this complicity, understanding, and good communication does not exist between the couple, this situation can become a daily reason for arguments and cause intra-family conflicts. “There is no magic formula for avoiding this. Learning, understanding, patience, and recognition of the other are the most important things,” emphasizes the psychologist.

Three ideas for a balanced home

  1. Identify each person’s strengths, likes, and abilities to establish roles and tasks at home. “My own experience taught me that. For example, I have two children and I never got up in the morning for them to be that kind of self-sacrificing mom. On the other hand, my husband loves it and was very good at it,” says psychologist Rosa Guevara.

  1. Agree on differences. The specialist explains that “it is possible to live together in harmony as long as we respect our differences. I cannot pretend to change the other just for my likes and needs.”

  1. Communication remains a priority. Set aside times to express ideas, discomfort, or dislikes. It is also a way to reach different agreements that affect everything from the simplest things in a family dynamic to making a decision together about who will be the provider of the home.

The loss of jobs caused by the pandemic is causing new discussions about dynamics in the home, increasing the levels of stress and anxiety in the family nucleus.