Gender equality at home: I am not your pretty housewife

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5 practical ideas to implement SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower women and girls by starting with your own wife.

Some men pronounce themselves publicly in favor of women’s rights and gender equality. They might even call themselves feminists or fight in organisations, devoted to the implementation of the SDGs.

In theory, it sure does sound good to be a supporter of women. However, when looking at their own homes, they might not always treat their wife and partner with the respect they deserve.

In this article, we would like to draw a closer look to implementing gender equality at home in your relationship.

What does it mean to have a marriage that is based on the principle of gender equality? Which strategies and values will help a couple to live the gender equality demanded by SDG5?

(And by the way, for the men among you who like being the “boss” of the family: You have no idea what you are actually missing in your relationship :-)).

Our five practical suggestions should give you the possibility to critically reflect on subconscious behaviours in your couple.

Number 1: Let’s talk about money!

Who earns more money in your relationship? Even the most forward-thinking men don’t like to admit that their wives earn more money. But why is that? Is it difficult for men to be proud when their wives are professionally successful? Doesn’t that mean that they have made a good choice by marrying an intelligent partner?

Money can often be intimidating. Then there are questions of joint bank accounts, credit cards and so on. Whatever you decide, just make sure that you discuss it first. Be honest about your feelings.

If your partner’s money intimidates you, just say so. If you feel like earning more money or changing your career path, this is more than legitimate. When planning bigger investments, make the decisions together.

If you want to be financially independent, that’s also fine. Just keep in mind: Your relationship shouldn’t be about money. Money doesn’t define you or your ability. Equality in a relationship means that both partners can earn money, but it doesn’t matter who earns more of it.

Number 2: Let’s talk about sex!

Let’s not deny it: Good sex is an important part of a good relationship. But who defines what good sex is?

In a relationship based on equality partners not only have sex, but they also talk about it. Sometimes the talking part can even be more intimate than the actual sex.

Sex should be about discovering your partner’s body and your partner’s wishes and desires. An orgasm is not a one-way-street, nor is it the ultimate goal of every intercourse. Much more than that, sexuality is a way of getting closer together, to create an intimate space for the two of you.

Equality in sexuality means that nobody is left behind. It also means that both partners can refuse intercourse whenever they don’t feel like it. And it signifies that the pleasure of both partners is equally important.

So, go ahead and talk about it. And it includes menstruation and surely contraception, which is a matter for both partners.

Number 3: Let’s talk about kids!

Whenever kids come to play in a relationship, things become more complex. A new role distribution has to take place. Although it should be normal that mothers and fathers take over the same responsibilities in the 21st century, many families seem to be back to the stone age after the birth of a child.

Why can’t both, Mum and Dad, wash the baby, change nappies, feed their child, wake up at night and so forth? If a mother is still breastfeeding, that doesn’t mean that the Dad cannot take other responsibilities to make up for it: take the child for a walk, bring his partner some water to drink while breastfeeding or prepare dinner.

Caring for a child is a lot of work. It is equally rewarding to see how close relationships mostly grow between children with a Dad who is present to do all the things that were just enumerated.

Dads who are away most of the time, miss out on a lot of great things. Of course, it is okay to return to work after childbirth. However, this right should apply to mothers and fathers equally.

Women often sacrifice their careers or are condemned to a life-lasting part-time job that doesn’t fulfill them. The most important thing is to discuss where you want to go with your life and who takes which responsibilities.

Number 4: Let’s talk about support!

Being in a relationship based on equality doesn’t mean that you have to want the same things all the time. However, the key word here is: support!

Your partner wants to open a creative online-shop – just go for it! You can express your opinion about it by being supportive at the same time. Be happy for your partner’s success and accompany him or her to achieve his or her goals.

Number 5: Let’s talk about us!

The key to any successful relationship, based on gender equality supported by mutual respect, is communication. Communication sometimes means the ability to put behind your personal anger and your needs and to express your thoughts with words.

Whenever something is bothering you, you should bring it to the attention of your partner in a respectful way. A regular sit-together can help you discuss important aspects of your relationship and of your life as a couple.

 

 

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