Mmegi Online :: Is there a man behind every successful woman?
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Last Updated
Thursday 13 December 2018, 12:33 pm.
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Is there a man behind every successful woman?

There is a common saying that behind every successful man there is a woman but it is doubtful whether this also applies to successful and well-educated women as well.
By Staff Writer Thu 13 Dec 2018, 23:31 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Is there a man behind every successful woman?








Is there a man behind every successful woman? Successful and professional women seem to be leading lonely lives, which leads to the question whether men resent them.

Locally there are many cases of women who divorced after they became successful or when they climbed the corporate ladder.  There are many such cases in both the private and public sectors.  Similar cases also abound in the government leadership circles.  The list includes top local women politicians. 

Some of the country's leading women, who are divorced, include former High Court judge Unity Dow, Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Margaret Nasha, and Minister of Trade and Industry, Dorcas Makgato-Malesu. 

In the Tswana tradition, the husband was supposed to be the breadwinner for the family while the wife was relegated to a minor role.  But as the country developed, more women became educated just like their male counterparts.  This has resulted in women also occupying positions of power and high paying jobs.  But some men cannot tolerate a situation where the woman is calling the shots or has more cash power.  This has not gone down well with some families and in the worst case scenario the man opt out. 

But really should the wife earn a higher income than her husband? Gaborone district officer, Mosetsana Busang, does not see anything wrong with that.  To her, it is just the same when a man is earning a higher salary. 

In her view, it just depends on how the couple relates. The only problem that she sees is how people have been raised or how society perceives things.  She said people were brought up to believe that men were always the ones to provide for their families.

According to Busang, the only thing is that socially men were supposed to look after women.  She wondered whether even Adam was taking care of Eve. The district officer said in African tradition, a man is supposed to marry and look after the woman.  "We have been socialised in that way in our African beliefs," she said. 

She said in some African societies even if a married woman is educated, she is not allowed to work.  In other words she is supposed to remain a housewife. Asked what could trigger tension in such a relationship, Busang said a man might feel insecure when he "can't provide" for the family.  She said he would always be thinking about what the society would be saying.  She is of the opinion that such men are put under pressure by the society. 

Such an individual, she said, might become abusive or would even have an inferiority complex.

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In as far as Busang is concerned, a married woman can still provide for the family. She noted however that in the past, women were obedient because they were dependent on men. 

Busang said it is untrue that women become bossy and insolent to their husbands once they are in positions of power or earning a big salary.  "I don't see the reason why you should change.  Normally it is not the women who start trouble.  Women are really patient in their relationships," the district officer said. 

University of Botswana (UB) sociology lecturer, Zara Botlhomilwe attributed the whole thing to the fact that traditionally, Batswana are a patriarchal society.  The man is regarded as the head of the family. He said the power in the family was measured in economic terms, which is why the man was regarded as the head. "The husband was the provider of everything," the academic said.

But Botlhomile said the ground rules have since changed as women are earning more.  He said there has been a reversal of household roles.  "It is a shift that has to do with economic power," he said. As a man and a traditionalist, Botlhomile does not welcome this development where women are calling the shots.  He said even during informal discussions, it is not uncommon to hear even some enlightened men say they would not want to have a partner who would be earning more. 

Botlhomile said the shift purely relates to economics of the household.  "Women are capable of holding high positions.  The economic power which used to be dominated by men is now wielded by women," said the lecturer. 

He said women also feel that their economic superiority empowers them to rule the household.  "I am not sure if men are prepared to accept this development.  It creates all sorts of problems."

He said men are no longer respected.  He said instead of the woman owing allegiance to her husband, it is the other way round. Botlhomile said men are under pressure from their peers if they do not seem to be financially in control of their families.

He said as a man, if you want to assert more control it would create problems that would lead to a break-up of the family. Botlhomile said this is why some women holding high posts, prefer foreign partners, especially white men. 
He said due to their culture, for a white man it is not a big deal if his partner brings in more income.  The lecturer said white men accept that a woman can also be a major decision maker in the household.

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