Anne Marie Whalley: Evolution takes time

Marchers walk down Broadway Street in downtown Los Angeles as they hold signs during the Women's March on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Katharine Lotze/Signal

We don’t pay for extra TV channels, and we try to keep up with the news using the basic national and local public commercial broadcast networks.

On “Women’s Day” I was hoping that the basic TV channels would cover more insights into the accomplishments of women around the world. I was prepared to watch TV all the day and evening long. I couldn’t wait to be educated by the media.

I was disappointed. The newspapers and TV spoke and showed women mostly marching against our President’s proposed programs, and pushing for equal rights. All this conducted on a working day, and I was thinking – Should people demonstrating be proud of not showing up to their places of employment? Somehow, that seemed a bit odd to me, and not quite right.

I know I am old fashioned. If I try to analyze history, I see that not long ago women won the legal right to vote, rights for abortions, rights to equal education, equal employment, pay and benefits, so on.

Humanity evolved for many centuries into patriarchal societies for all of the evolutionary reasons that worked best for societies during earlier eras. If now conditions no longer warrant old societal structure, we then have to approach jointly a new structure carefully. We need to evolve overtime within the new ways of our society. We also need to learn how this can be done to work positively for all of humanity.

When I observe three of my female grandchildren growing up, I see them all differently. One is a tomboy and enjoys math, science, English and arts. Another one is a serious “academic” pursuing business and psychology. The third one is very feminine and enjoys reading, writing, and loves animals. Their parents do not educate them with a sense of rivalry against the male gender. They respect both genders.

I remember that I too was a tomboy. My brother and his friends didn’t see me as inferior. When I married my ex-husband, the role of the woman was to stay at home. That was in the 1970s. 45 years ago, and that was a done deal even for educated women.

Forty five years later more young women have diplomas from colleges and universities. If we think about it, it’s a huge change. Men’s roles have been changing too, and it took a century or so to achieve these changes in our society.

I have learned that life is simply an “adventure”; rarely totally static, but continuously evolving and challenging, both good and not so good.

Because of a divorce, after being a staying-at-home wife and mother for 17 years, I instantly became a single woman with responsibilities to raise three young daughters alone. I could no longer be a mom at home. Did I like it? No and yes, but I had no other choice.

I loved my jobs, and the people whom I worked with. My children’s schooling and activities were not as good as when I stayed home. Eventually, I met and married an American, and we all four immigrated legally to America with him. We created our consulting engineering company from scratch. The first few years were difficult, and challenging to say the least, but that was expected. My husband was the “boss”, and I provided all company administrative support, and clerical work. Working at home allowed me to take care of the children’s schooling, and everything else related to the home and family. I wished I could have had a house cleaning service; someone to drive the children back and forth, or a tutor to supervise the homework while working from home. Instead, I wore many hats.

Today, it seems that women have more choices including the right to choose to not have children. Some prefer to focus on a career. It’s important for all women to become educated, not to become a rival of men, but to open up opportunities for both genders in respectful partnerships within society.

Currently for some women, change does not happen fast enough, and blame men as the problem. It is not true. We are their problems, because we got more educated than our grandparents. Women demand equality right here, right now. It’s up to women to have understanding and patience to prove to society (and men) that women can transition positively into more workplace and corporate positions. Society will advance in good ways for all, and our families and children will not suffer as a result; both men and women must be responsible for good reasons.

Maybe it is going to take two or three more generations before men and women understand their new status in the society. Conversations and dialogue, no animosity between genders will help determine structure of the new society. Patience is a virtue. The universe has not been made in seven days. Look at our evolution; it continues.

PS: Women and children trafficking, rape and violence toward children and women are old news, and this should be universally addressed before almost anything else.

Anne Marie Whalley is a Canyon Country resident.

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