Traditionally men are the providers. There are societal expectations of men that influence them to strive to embody an image of hypermasculinity. On the other side of things women are expected to be caregivers and watch over the children. The gender roles ingrained in our societies create unequal opportunities between men and women. Women in developing nations are not raised to think they can be economically empowered. This leaves them at a huge disadvantage when their husbands leave them. The United States of America is not immune to these problems of gender despite being an industrialized nation. The poor are particularly at risk.
Men are raised to buy into hypermasculinity. They are taught that men must be the head of house and the sole provider. They can be labeled as failures if they don’t meet these expectations. “A man in this situation has already been given the wrong signals about what equality between the sexes implies as far as his survival is concerned. To such a man equality with women ultimately implies his emasculation.”(Cirunji). We must fix how men view themselves before we can change how women are viewed.
Another stereotype for men is that they leave. It is somewhat acceptable in parts of the world for a husband to leave his wife and children. A woman from a
Half the Sky video who lives in Kenya stated that “men doesn't like children so much”. Children are the woman's burden.
This creates a sort of disconnect between who should be the head of a household. How can a man be the sole breadwinner if he is not present? 60 to 80 percent of families in urban Kenya have a woman as the head of house. Worldwide this statistic is 33 percent.
When women are left to provide for their families they need resources available to them.
It is a lot more difficult for a woman to get a job. Male employers can see them as incompetent and their children as liabilities. Women are more likely to have to miss work because of a sick child or because they are pregnant. They become desperate to support their families and turn to industries like commercial sex work. When most children rely on their mothers to take care of them, women not having access to jobs is unhealthy for the future generations. In many parts of the world it is a traditional expectation that women put their children first. An expectation men can be exempt from. According to
Half the Skies “When the income is in the hands of the mother, the survival of a child increases by about 20 percent.” Because of this, the key to improving future generations is in the mother. She is the one who will put all her assets towards her kids so that they can be healthier and more educated. In one of the
Skies videos, a Kenyan woman states that the men buy the soda and the women buy the milk.
This statement is symbolic for the family structures in Kenya and how the mothers are more likely to spend their money on their children than the men. A Kenyan mother sees her