Source: Rwanda Focus
Way back in my primary school we were taught that father is the head of the family. Our teachers were right because those were the days no doubt the father was the head of his family. He, after all, brought home the bread and dictated what the family would eat. But with the emergence of the so-called empowered woman, however, those days are long gone.
As it is, in the contemporary world, you would fail the exam if you said that the man is the head of the family, because, truth be told, nowadays, this is no longer Gospel truth, so many amendments have been made to it.
Gone are the days when the path to marriage was pretty straight forward. We had a man who after years of "sampling" the available options on the market would identify someone's daughter whom he felt was wife material, court her or date her (in today's language) for a while, then marry her. He would in most cases be more educated than the woman and, most importantly, earning more. Preferably, the woman would still be job hunting, which meant that she would have to rely on him for everything. This, most men will attest, did something for their most valuable trait - ego. It made them feel capable, invincible even, and instilled a sense of being in control - and how intoxicating!
But with the Feminist movement kicking in, more girls were educated and now we have the wave of the career woman sweeping across the world - Rwanda inclusive. These women are successful financially, have attended some of the best graduate schools and universities in the world and pose a great challenge to the men. Rushing out of home to beat office time, full diary of appointments, boardroom meetings has become part and parcel of their lives. But with every good thing comes a price and their price has been resistance from men (husbands). But does success make them impossible or the men are insecure that their position of being the sole provider facing competition.
Come to think of it. Many women are now footing bills in their households? Don't be deceived that men do not exist in these homes where women do the talking - they do. Problem is, they have been rendered redundant by their wives who have usurped the man's traditional role as the head of the family because of one simple reason - they too earn highly. This kind of wife will pay rent, school fees and buy food. As a result, the man no longer has a voice. How can he when he contributes nothing, and if he does, his contribution is a drop in the sea compared to that of his wife? A married female friend of mine one time told me she is going to buy windows and doors for their house which was under construction then. Her reason was that one day when her husband turns against her, she will remove all the windows and doors after all it is her money. Originally a family's shelter was absolutely the man's responsibility. And how many men feel proud about this - none!
Some people claim that most Rwandan marriages that are currently having hiccups and turmoil are because of this transformation of the Rwandan woman something that has torn apart the fabric that holds marriage together. Financial issues are the main source of conflict in a whole lot of them. The emerging trend, where more women are beginning to cash bigger pay cheques than their husbands, has become an explosive ready to shutter many marriages.
And the married woman is not the only one whose stakes have changed. There is the single independent woman who is even more empowered than her married counterpart. She is very well educated, most probably she has a master's degree and is contemplating enrolling for her PhD. She has a good job, an enviable one that pays well or drives one of those posh cars that turn heads. She might have bought her own house or is in the process of buying one or better still lives in an affluent neighbourhood. Everything about her, from her manicured nails to her stilettos screams successful. She's got the brains and, to crown it all, she is attractive and good to look at.
This lady will tell you bluntly that she is not where she is today by chance; she worked hard to get there. And because of this, she expects nothing short of the best, especially from the men she dates. So all you mediocres keep your distance as this will not work for her. But unfortunately for her, her success is also her biggest misfortune. Reason: success in women seems to repulse men! Men have always been intimidated by successful women. Irrespective of which part of the world they come from, men have always been wary of successful women because they make them feel somehow inadequate. There is no law against attraction, so men may be attracted to such women but they tend to admire them from afar.
At the back of the men's minds is the conclusion that these women already have everything; what then would they have to offer? Actually they tend to think they too can get everything including a man and sex by themselves if they wanted. Due to this, most of these ladies find themselves alone and lonely, and you will sometimes find some seeking the company of younger men, who are just after fun and have no fears of detoothing a woman. But is it really that impossible for a successful woman to get married or have a healthy marriage? Susan Twine, a consultant in Kigali doesn't think so. She says impossible women choose to behave so. "It's a woman's choice to either be manageable or impossible. It's a choice some women make." She adds that some men however have inferiority complex and do not want women to be more successful than them.
When all is said and done, it is important to note that some men out there are comfortably married to successful career women. And they are themselves successful something that is a key ingredient in relationships because just like marriages they are more likely to be successful if there is a meeting of minds.