surinenglish

What I don't want

I don't want to be a superwoman, but I want the whole package: a professional career and a family, just like men have. Some might think that's already the case, that the law guarantees women the same rights and that a lot of us work and have children. Well that equality is still theoretical or virtual, but not real.

I don't want to be asked whether I'm going to take unpaid leave or reduce my working hours because I'm a woman, taking it for granted that it is exclusively the mother who has the choice to do so. I don't want the father who looks after his children to be singled out and praised for being so good with them.

I don't want there to be quotas so that the proportion of women in certain jobs is equal to that of men. Neither do I want to be told that we'll get there eventually, but that you can't change 2,000 years of history just like that, as if it weren't a question of justice and that the idea just occurred to us yesterday. After all, it has been proved that the firms that recruit using blind CVs end up employing more women than men.

I don't want a fellow participant at a professional meeting to come up to me during the break and comment on my physical appearance. It's not that defending equality means a pathological rejection of polite compliments. It's just that it's not the place nor the time, the appropriate relationship or good manners. Neither should remarks as to whether a woman is ugly or attractive come up in a professional evaluation as if they were relevant.

I don't want having children to come with a need to reduce working hours because the job is not compatible with a personal life. Neither should this option always fall to women because they earn less, because their salaries barely pay for someone to look after the children and because it's tradition.

I don't want being a mother to be more important than being a father, but the same. And I don't want to hear the excuse that only women can give birth and breastfeed. That is a privilege that lasts just a few months, a minor interruption of a political career. However bringing children up, which is a matter for both parents, lasts for years.

I don't want to be a pioneer or an exception to the rule; I want to be normal. By no means do I want to be a victim, to blame my problems on the other half of the population, to leave the solution in their hands. I'm going to keep going through life like a car that joins a full motorway, forcing others to let me in. But it takes a majority to be rowing in the same direction and to really believe in the position they are adopting.