As young women of the 21st century in the year of 2019 we cannot imagine not having the right to vote or the right to step inside a university to educate ourselves. Many things may come as obvious to us which were not so in the past. A lot of amazing progress has been made and us, women, are very grateful for all the hard work our fellow strong women put into fighting for our rights. However, in the year of 2019, I am amazed to witness many states in the US banning abortion and taking away the right for women to choose for themselves. In Estonia, the far-right conservative party has also raised the question about abortion, stating it should not be funded by the country. Gladly, this is something that the government will not change. Since Estonia is a small country with a small population there is a lot of pressure from middle-aged men in the government for women to make children, and they go as far as to say that that is the only thing women are good for. I cannot fathom this viewpoint in the times we are living in. These are the times where women can finally choose whether they want children, whether they want to focus on their career and/or love life, whether they want to be happily single or whether perhaps they do not want to be a stay-at-home housewife cleaning up after their husband.
As the time has progressed, so have, fortunately, progressed the minds of the people. Men in Estonia can choose to go on a father’s leave and therefore support their family emotionally not only financially. I have grown up in a household where my father always shared the responsibility of daily chores: cooked, cleaned, did everything a normal independent individual would do whether they were in a relationship or not. I would like everyone to be able to do these things for themselves, and this kind of old-fashioned way of thinking that women should do most of the chores at home to die out. I would like for women to not be surprised when their male counterparts help with chores at home. I would like this to be self-evident and obvious that every person living in said household puts the same amount of effort into it being clean, nice and comfortable for everyone. The same about sharing the emotional labor and taking care of one’s own children.
In Estonia, I have the coolest women as friends, from the ages of 22 to 24, who are not afraid to be a modern woman with their own ideas for the future and for their life. For the most part, they are confident to be themselves and have grown to bravely state their opinions about having or not having children, about wanting a career and about men perhaps not being what they need in their lives at this moment. I am glad to have the company of brave women who are not afraid to be themselves, who are open-minded and progressive, and who could not care less about the crazy gender stereotypes that have emerged in our society. There are plenty of outdated expectations and requirements for Estonian men from a lot of Estonian women, especially regarding the question of military service and typically masculine traits.
What is so great about women fighting for equality is that men can also find the freedom of self-expression through it. Because we want to see the retired gender stereotypes burn. Being violent or strong or madly masculine does not make one a man. Being confident in being whoever one wants to be and flaunting one’s healthy masculine and/or feminine traits and being courageous to show feelings, emotions and weaknesses is what matters. If everyone were proud to be themselves just like they are and would focus on being a better human to every one of us, regardless of gender, I think we would have a higher position in terms of equality in Estonia, and in the whole world. I invite everyone to try to notice the trite stereotypes, the sexist remarks, the weird remarks about women’s reproductive rights, or toxic masculinity having a negative impact on one’s life and saying or doing something about it. That way we can finally let everyone be themselves (in a healthy way)!