The Day of the GirlPosted: October 10, 2012
I was watching the god awful Being: Liverpool series yesterday – it’s so car crash cringey that you feel compelled to watch and yet even pressing the play button makes you shudder in expectation.
Anyway, Liverpool, “Being Liverpool” lost and this fly-on-the wall thing covered all the ramifications of pub chat, podcast blather, fan moping etc across Liverpool.
I wondered where the women were.
Then it struck me just similar how our cultures are – despite how we might like to pretend otherwise. Men yakking over an issue of deluded importance while no doubt wives, mothers, sisters and daughters were getting on with the business, work and logistics of living.
Yesterday I watched as the female side of my own Vietnamese family took charge in mopping up a family problem with a solution that was equal parts empathy, common sense, hard work and generosity.
Though they stopped at giving their plans the go ahead – waiting instead till “Dad gets home”.
I have issues with men being written off in Vietnam. Just as I do anywhere. For me equality means equality. Expect little of men and they’ll expect to do little. It’s too easy.
But women’s contribution to Vietnam needs to be more widely recognised. Women need more opportunities. They need a break in every sense. They need tradition and those who insist on it, male and female, to adapt to modernity.
In Vietnam boys are still much more likely to stay onto secondary education. At a time when Vietnam needs skills the country can’t afford to lose the chance to develop its women. In the end, at the risk of dissolving into NGO-speak, education is empowerment.
I don’t believe that where Vietnam gets it wrong, that it’s always men to blame. I’ve heard of too many domineering mothers-in-law using their son’s wives as domestic help to believe that. The eldest boy being expected to keep parents into their old age has its own far reaching issues that could take up several pages. Think them through for a second.
But what is certainly true is that women continue to get a raw deal. Changing the situation starts with education. Tomorrow, October 11th is the International Day of the Girl. Change how women are seen, utilise their potential and, I believe, the dynamic will change for the better. More info on the Plan Facebook page here. You can also raise your hand or do the twibbon thing or add your own blog post.
Pic above courtesy of Plan Vietnam.