The fact that families of women still make demands on a man’s family for a marriage union is quite laughable, to say the least. I have reiterated this point numerous times: the progress we have made towards achieving equality has yielded favourable outcomes for women in many areas.
However, in certain aspects, gender parity seems to be regressing, encroaching upon our comfort zones, and we are thoroughly displeased. It appears that our parents are trapped in an agrarian mindset, hoping that the traditional practice of men’s families seeking a woman’s hand in marriage can be replicated today.
Interestingly, our own mothers, who have been at the forefront since the momentous journey to the Beijing conference in 1995 to advocate for equality, seem to forget that their daughters have now taken their place at the table of equals.
These girls are on par with the men they intend to marry. They have graduated from the same class as their boyfriends, and in fact, they may have excelled academically and have better prospects of securing employment quickly.
Yet, our mothers continue to lead negotiations, defining the material worth of their daughters to a man, despite the possibility that she may be the one supporting him financially, even paying his rent in the city.
It is about time our fathers comprehend that society has embraced social liberation, and it is entirely possible that their daughter is older in this impending marriage and holds a better job than her partner.
When broken down to its basics, the woman may actually be the head of the family in terms of age and financial status. She stands at the forefront in family photos, while the man sits on a stool before her—a complete reversal of what was once considered the norm.
In the past, during the reign of patriarchy, men were expected to pay a substantial price to marry a woman, as she technically became his possession, alongside his land, livestock, and offspring. However, times have changed, and with the acceptance of new dynamics, it is now the responsibility of influential women to educate the families of young women about the new world order and adjust their expectations accordingly.
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If a man is willing to pay dowry, then let it be accepted. If he is not willing, and the woman is content to marry him, then let her proceed. Nowadays, marriage is a social institution based on mutual support, and no aspect of the union should be designed to solely benefit one party.