In celebration of women everywhere we want to share with you
this excerpt from the book Fear of Life by Alexander Lowen, M.D. >
Join us in paying respects and appreciation for an impactful woman Marry Boyd Higgins (1925-2019) >
And explore more information about this year's theme and events worldwide >
"The patriarchal order is a vertical hierarchy of power and possessions. The individual at the top, a king or party leader, for example, has the most power, those lower in the hierarchy have less, and those at the bottom have the least or none. This hierarchy also existed in the family, with the father at the top, the mother below him, and the children at the bottom. At the high point in Roman civilization the father had absolute legal power of life and death over his wife and children.
Legally, women have been second-class citizens until recently. The property of a married woman belonged to her husband. While much has changed, inequality still exists between the sexes.
Inequality mars the harmony of the man-woman relationship, which should be one of equal sharing in a common effort. The person who feels inferior is resentful of the one who has the superior position. This is especially true where ego consciousness is highly developed, as in our culture. Most people find it humiliating to have to submit to a power they did not grant. One doesn’t feel love in this situation, but hate.
In the patriarchal family the inequality extended to sex. Women were subject to a double standard of morality that denied them the right to a full sexual life while it left men free to indulge their desires. The double standard was most strictly enforced in bourgeois society, where the striving for ego enhancement, power, and possessions was greatest. It was less enforced among the nobility, because their ego and power rested on the seemingly solid foundation of birth.
It was least enforced in the lower classes, where the striving for power was weak. In bourgeois society a woman’s chastity had value in the marriage market. Inevitably, a power struggle developed in every bourgeois home. The man had power through his control of the property, but the woman often countered by withholding her sexuality on the grounds of illness or indisposition.
Used consciously or unconsciously, this tactic could be an effective weapon. The woman could also threaten a man with unfaithfulness, which was a real blow to his ego. But this game was played by both parties. The man often stepped outside the marriage for his sexual pleasure.
Fighting between husband and wife is not new. In the past women generally complained that there wasn’t enough money, men that there wasn’t enough sex. That situation seems to have changed with the demise of the double standard in the sexual revolution of the fifties and sixties. But this change doesn’t seem to have reduced the fighting that goes on between the spouses. As long as the issue of power enters into personal relationships, there will be conflict.״
Celebrate International Women's Day 2019 campaign theme:
The future is exciting. Everyone has a part to play - all the time, everywhere. From grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Balance drives a better working world. Let's all help create a #BalanceforBetter.