The first time I saw this statement was on a T-Shirt. The words bit me. It sounds offensive, doesn’t it? What is this even meant to mean, I thought? I googled. I found varying opinions and reviews on this statement. So, what does this statement even mean?
Initially I assumed it meant simply the future belonged to females. Where would the men be then? What would happen to our men, our fathers, sons and brothers? Would they go extinct? What sort of a world would that be?
The first time “The future is female” statement was seen was in 1975 on a T-Shirt in the United States, during a period in the US noted as the second wave of feminism. It became more popular when Hillary Clinton used it as the title of her Book and when she run to be voted as the US President.
How is the future female?
I stand for women empowerment; but when I first saw that statement, I found it outrageous. Why so? I am female so if the future would be or belong to females it should make me happy shouldn’t it? As I later realised, the reason this statement made me uneasy was because the world often places one class as dominant (gender, race etc) over the other. So, what made it outrageous was the quick comparison to the male gender my mind made, thinking that empowering females meant a “de-powering” or “un-empowering” of males which is a totally wrong perspective to have as a feminist, I should confess.
Therefore, the assumption that once a woman is empowered somehow “un-powers” or displaces a man, is untrue. This might be the reason why in certain cultures or societies female empowerment is faced with strong opposition.
What if the statement was edited to be “if today is male, the future is female”? Does it make it more tolerable? If gender equality cannot be achieved today how about tomorrow? And if it will be achieved tomorrow, how will we get there?
Accepting the future as female.
I describe myself as one who believes that women are capable of making decisions about their bodies, should be enabled and empowered to be all they desire to be. I am one who believes that women should be allowed to be everything they want to be and even more.
But then there is society, there is religion and culture which often stands in the way of what a woman must be or permitted to do. And with time, as one with an interest in such issues, I have come to accept that what often impedes a woman’s empowerment is herself.
I think when women begin to limit themselves, hold back and avoid pursuing certain jobs or education because society decides who must take up what to whose benefit therein lies the greatest defeat to women empowerment. Using my life as an example, though I am currently in a field predominantly male, after high school I had a keen interest in Mechanics (mechanical engineering) and got an offer from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to study it. I however did not pursue it as I was informed of the low employment options for females in this area in Ghana.
Looking back, I question myself as to what other opportunities I have missed out on because it looked addressed to males or society felt it was not in my place to pursue them.
The biggest challenge to preparing for a future that is female in my opinion is believing in the voices of society, culture or family and starting to pursue less of oneself and believing that you are incapable. Therein lies the true threat to women empowerment. The fact that in another household a woman can be a medical practitioner and in another household another though equally capable, drops out of school because she accepts that a woman will no matter what end up in the kitchen is sad.
The future is female might seem impossible and perhaps only one for dreamers. But what if as outrageous as it sounds, the limitations to women to be Leaders, Entrepreneurs, mothers and function fully as professionals and receive Renumeration just as men can only be taken away if this statement is pursued today. If today belongs to the men tomorrow can be ours if we work on breaking down the varying barriers to women’s financial freedom, illiteracy and self believe.
Image Source: Women’s March 0832 –