Are Millennials Redefining Gender Roles?

Videos have broken the internet for the past few months on women proposing to men for their hand in marriage after years of waiting without the man proposing. Whether they are acted videos or real, it is one of those conversations that struck millennial generation when it comes to their perception of gender roles. Recently, a video of a famous Nigerian actor emerged advising the men against kneeling when proposing to women, as it shows a sign of weakness and disrespect to the men species; by kneeling, you give power to the woman to rule the house.

Gender roles are responsibilities ascribed to women and men at the household, community, and workplace of any given society. The society plays the role of a watchdog to ensure that people do not tread away from the right path. Such perception has led to the rising of gender stereotypes. Gender roles are not natural for men and women. They are taught by the society which can be unlearned.

Millennials are defined as a generation group born from 1980 – 2003. Millennials believe that they can have it all, good career, family, houses, business and have fun. I do believe one can have it all. They have built their movement on bringing an end to the traditional gender roles; rebirthing a new order and group mobilization. Society views millennial as violent, unpredictable, irrational, dangerous, and who have less concern with the exiting social conventions.

The intergenerational dialogue tries to build a bridge between these two generations. The older generation had their mechanism that got things done. They paved the way for feminism that has evolved to gender equality and thus have more experience. The millennial generation, on the other hand, are more aggressive; they have the current skills needed and can get the job done. No generation is better than the other. They both have their strengths ad weakness. These generations hence need to work together, get the experience from the older generation and the skills from the millennial and build transformative strategies developing their potentials.

In modern feminism, Millennials would still argue that the men still enjoy the escalator effect as women suffer adversely from the glass ceiling effect. Research shows that as much as women are taking up a leadership position and are active in politics, men are still steps ahead. Traditional gender roles stipulate that women should maintain their activities in the private sphere and leave the public spheres for the men. And ideal woman, from a traditional perspective, is one who stays beautiful and pretty, submissive to the husband and gives birth to beautiful children. Millennials are breaking the boundaries, not only in getting high-level positions in an organization but also having a business that is growing fast, giving birth to intergenerational dialogue. A significant percentage of Millennials have registered in their minds that the only way to achieve gender equality is by getting men off from their positions. I have attended meetings that are only women, discussing women issues and always blame men for all the troubles they have.

A society of only women or only men is a society condemned to disappear. Gender equality is not a battle between men and women, but an opportunity for men and women to complement their flaws.

Susan Nyabena

We are in an era that women believe that men are trash. The perception is, women are too empowered to need men in their lives. They have a good job, business, they have built their networks and therefore do not need men in their lives. It is not only on personal relationships but at workplaces and is vivid on campaigns that fight for gender equality. Millennials, however, has been accused of double standards. An example, a woman would want a man to kneel when proposing to her but yet, they wouldn’t kneel to serve food to their husband. These are conversations that struck social media almost every day. Millennial has come up with a list of what an ideal man is.

On the other hand, the men have taken a step back. I have seen several cases where the woman is the sole breadwinner; she would pay the bills and take care of the children, on the other hand, the man would lazy around the house waiting for the women to come back. It has all blamed it on neglecting the boy child, and thus they are less empowered. Or rater put, we have empowered women with no empowered men to take care of them.

Gender roles can be unlearned. Nothing is constant. In the private sector, I would say the husband and wife should agree on what suits them. Am a traditional woman, I would serve my husband; however, he wants to, and he would be out there providing for the family. I would say that this does not act as an indicator of achieving gender equality, it is rather personal, and it’s our choice—a little more of defining our personal relationships from work. At the public sphere, we apply the 50/50 rule of gender equality. The freedom to open a company to own land to access bank loans to set up a business in all areas in one word to be free of your movement and actions without any fear of any violent/reprehensible action against your personality this where lies the true indicators of women empowerment. A society of only women or only men is a society condemned to disappear. Gender equality is not a battle between men and women, but an opportunity for men and women to complement their flaws.

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