African society generally perceives educated and successful women as too bossy and independent to be wife material. It is generally accepted that marriage to an educated woman will almost always fail, because, as they put it, there will be two bulls in one kraal.
Modern gender issues were emphatically brought to the fore at the UN-sponsored 1995 World Conference on Women and men grudgingly accepted opening doors a little wider for women.
But the fact is that there still remains among society, staunch traditionalists, some of them women, who still believe that a woman’s place is in the kitchen.
At the same time, the fact remains that most career girls, who have taken on male chauvinists in the boardrooms and floored them, still remain unmarried.
Some say that career girls choose to stay single, while others say that men are generally intimidated by such women, such that they shy away from relationships with them.
Many women who choose to spend years in school have been scorned for trying to be like men, and absconding from their feminine duties of bearing children, getting married and taking care of their husbands.
With the responsibilities that come with high profile careers and education, such women rarely find time to raise children and attend to household chores. It is not easy to be a mother, a company executive and a wife at the same time.
In the end, the role of raising kids, attending to household chores, spending time with the family and pampering their husbands are relegated to the house maid.
There have been many instances where the husband eventually falls back on the maid for solace and sexual favours. The marriage eventually breaks down. The question that begs the answer is: whose fault is it, the husband’s or the wife’s?
The issue of gender equality, and the rise of the feminist movement, has also brought problems in that some women tend to become disrespectful to their husbands, while some husbands develop inferiority complexes and tend to take offense and overreact to the slightest provocation.
But the fact is that the issues of gender equality, women empowerment and education are generally misrepresented by both men and women.
Education influences one’s outlook in life, but it does not change how they will turn out to be in later years. It influences ideologies, but it does not change one’s convictions, character and personality.
To some extent, a marriage is, at least in part, an exercise in labour specialization. Traditionally, men were inclined to seek paid employment outside the household, while women attended to unpaid employment at home.
Nobel laureate Gary S Becker posits that if both spouses have careers, the overall value of marriage decreases, culminating in divorce.
Most women are overwhelmed by the demands of their careers and their commitments to the family. Becker argues that women should be disciplined and organized, with a clear understanding of how to do justice to both these requirements and rigorously stick to it. Too much education on the part of women supposedly ruins marriages.
It is said that educated women insist on being equal partners in the marital institution, and they almost always dominate their husbands.
But that is not always the case. How then do we explain scenarios where uneducated women, housewives to be exact, defy their husbands?
Others also say that educated women are emancipated and stand up for their rights; well, not all of them. There are many educated women who are still victims of abuse. Educated as they are, they fail to stand up against abuse, and they hide their bruises behind big sunglasses, and try to make excuses for their abusive husbands.
The myth that marriage to educated women tends to fail is unfounded. In fact, any marriage will fail if the two parties cannot agree on simple issues, whether they are educated or not. Men should not marry educated women with the belief that they are domineering and standoffish in the back of their minds. It is that belief that will eventually break the marriage apart because the men will take offense at even the smallest issue.
Society should empower women and encourage them to get education. Men nowadays tend to neglect their families. What would happen to a woman who depends on her husband, and is later abandoned without any source of income? What of the children?
In my view, women should seek to find more education and better paying jobs.