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Natàlia Perarnau's blog: The story of a ribbon and a mum who doesn't know how to sew

One day, when my daughter was little, something happened which really upset her: the ribbon that attached her handkerchief to her school overall came off. Banal as this may sound, you will see straightaway why this incident was, in fact, a problem for her. When the teacher saw how distressed my daughter was about what had happened, she tried to calm her down, telling her not to cry, that a ribbon coming off wasn't worth getting so upset about, and that her mum would mend it. At that point, my daughter got even more distraught, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to mend it for the simple reason that I don't know how to sew! She must have thought she would spend the rest of the school year with the ribbon dangling down, half on, half off. Imagine just how disconcerting it was for her.

Once at home, I had to tell my daughter that the fact her mother didn't know how to sew wasn't a problem, and that we're not any less of a woman or any less of a mum because we don't know how to do certain domestic chores that, historically and unjustly, were labelled as women's chores. The time has come to tackle this head on. It’s time to liberate ourselves from the 'ball and chain' mentality that we've dragged behind us for too many generations. We need to teach awareness about equality right from the start, and in the home. We need to stamp out the prejudice and damaging mentalities that stunt us in the face of the world's frenetic growth, and that stand in the way of the goals we set ourselves. 

Repeatedly, the media reveals how few women occupy leadership roles in our country, and that usually these positions are given to women in order to meet quotas. In my view, this is completely unfair. For the common good, people should attain positions of responsibility through their own merits and not because of their gender. In fact, there are many other aspects of the unjust “natural order” I could protest about, but if I had to highlight one that represents an enormous burden for many women, it would have to be the inequality in sharing domestic chores and childcare.

Even today, women are still responsible for the lion's share of household chores and childcare. Personally, I feel offended when people say that men "help out at home" just because they load the dishwasher, clean the bathroom, cook and iron. I think that what women find especially wearing is not so much doing the household chores in themselves but the planning - the never-ending thoughts that are always there, that rob the space of any other idea not related to family duties or housework. Without question, even though a man doesn't need to be superman to make it to the job of director, a woman really does need to be superwoman to take on a leadership role. 

Today, I have told you a simple story about something that happened when my daughter was little. Unfortunately, we could all tell lots more stories like this one, and they wouldn't all be as "harmless" as mine. I would like to hear yours. Have you got one that you would like to share?

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