It is pleasing news when you learn of a girl child that has excelled in her studies, obtains a university degree and goes ahead to obtain other qualifications.
Saturday Dialogue with Ropafadzo Mapimhidze
Unlike yesteryear when girl children pegged marriage as the highest attainment in life, today’s girl child thinks otherwise.
I had a chat with six high school leavers and another seven who were yet to complete their degrees, who I asked what they intended to do after graduating.
The answers I received were very interesting.
One young woman I will call Tendai said she wants to study law and defend women’s rights because she had seen her mother struggle with her father who left her for another woman.
“My mum got married when she was 21, with no skill at all. She was a full-time housewife who now has to trek up and down neighbouring countries selling wares to raise fees for us.
“I will get married after attaining a first degree and also after I have bought my own household property plus a little home,” she said.
These young interviewees said that having a successful career was at the top of their priority list.
The cause of the gender reversal is due to the fact that more women than men are getting university degrees and have increased participation in the workforce.
Contrary to popular belief, women aren’t throwing away the idea of family life for the sake of their careers.
For both young women and men, marriage and parenthood remain important life goals, describing marriage as a very crucial moment in their lives.
One of the girls called Sheila said she was so impressed to read about Bona Mugabe’s marriage after attaining her first degree.
“I was really happy for her because many girls get married before they have worked and done much for their parents. Although Bona may be a different case because she is the President’s daughter, she has no doubt set an example to all of us,” Sheila said.
It is a fact that today’s women have become more ambitious and career-oriented.
But many are also worried that their ways will turn them into “spinster cat ladies”.
I got a message from a Zimbabwean studying in China expressing her worries about not finding a suitable partner.
The young woman said: “The men we meet are just bimbos, who feel threatened by our career paths. Be they Zimbos or foreigners . . . I don’t want to reach 40 or 50 without a husband and I want seven children. It’s worrying us many Zimbabweans here,” she said.
She added: “I am 23 now, and by the time I finish my first degree and masters, I will be nearing 30 . . . I am worried . . .,” she said with a weepy voice.
She also stressed about how women in the millennial are devoted to their careers and sometimes working long hours a day, giving up serious relationships in exchange for the freedom to hustle and make money.
“We are all worried that we seem to be focusing on careers. I do not want to be a spinster, no, no. I want a man who will take me for who I am, but it seems these men are threatened by our career choices. ”
Although these choices mean that for now, marriage and children are not a priority, she wants a relationship with a man — just one that isn’t time-consuming.
“I’m not to date someone just for the sake of dating. I want a future with that person, but that person is just nowhere within my reach,” she says.
These women said that they may resort to the old-fashioned way of dating where families choose eligible spouses for their sons and daughters.
Another Zimbabwean student in Norway says she may not fight it difficult to find a man to marry since her father is a pastor of a leading Pentecostal church in Zimbabwe.
“But I feel that I may just land in the hands of a man I do not love. This matter troubles me day and night. We may just end up having hook-ups to fit in our busy lifestyles,” says Louisa.
Louisa adds: “I want to be independent and strong and do it for myself. I want to get into marriage as an equal partner and not be totally dependent on him . . .”
Times of India reports that, while it feels great to constantly climb the career ladder and earning good money, the reality is that at some point a woman may encounter a guy who’s intimidated by a woman’s success.
“According to new research, when a man is completely financially dependent on his female partner, he is five times more likely to cheat than men who contribute an equal amount to the partnership,” the newspaper said.
The article says traditionally, men used to bring home a majority of, if not the entire household income while many women had the option of being housewives and raising kids.
“Men typically played the role of providers and women that of nurturers. We do not see this today as the traditional gender roles have become distorted in relationships and women have become a lot more independent.”
As female breadwinners take on their role as protector and nurturer, men feel that their gender identity is being threatened. Seeing their partners trudging hard, they may stray.
This shift to equalitarian partnerships hits their ego and may further lead to infidelity.