Challenging Gender Roles

Generally speaking, women have been socialized to put the needs of others ahead of their own. Societal gender roles largely determine the norms of behaviour for both women and men. In the case of the former, each woman needs to figure out for herself how she can stay true to her authentic self within the confines of fabricated gender expectations of what it means to be female. This needs to be viewed within a cultural context and must include all women, regardless of gender identity and sexual orientation.  

Historically, Western women have fought long and hard to shift these antiquated societal expectations that have often stifled self-expression, de-valorised contributions that are typically viewed as being in the realm of the feminine (i.e. caregiving) and resulted in substantial inequities between genders…most notably in the areas of finance and leadership opportunities. Needless to say, marginalized women continue to face even tougher barriers in their quest for respect and equity.   

More and more, there are numerous women in non-Western cultures who are attempting to affect change and improve their plight in order to increase options for themselves and their children, beyond the roles of wife and mother. However, given that these largely patriarchal societies benefit from the status quo in which women are expected to adhere to long-standing rigid, societal expectations as to how they should or should not behave, much is at stake for women who choose   another path for themselves. These heart-wrenching choices often come with severe penalties that may include a safety risk as well as isolation from the familial and community tribe, or worse.  Women who choose the path of non-conformity often do so at huge risk and do not make this decision lightly. Those who do should be commended for their immense courage.

Regardless of who we are and the degree of choice we have available to us, EFT can still bring immense benefit despite the external factors that are beyond our control. Tapping on the messages we have received early on as to our worth, or lack thereof, can dismantle the untruths that have formed our self-concept until now. It can help dissolve feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy that were the result of conclusions we came to about who we are. Once these feelings are dissolved and old beliefs are neutralized, women can begin to reinvent themselves in a way that makes them feel strong and emboldens them to make different choices moving forward.

If you feel as though everyone else matters more than you do, I encourage you to check out some tapping websites, find a script that works for you (free resources are listed on this website) and start chipping away at the lies others have heaped onto you.

As an aside, I want to let you know about an amazingly inspiring book I just read (in just ONE day)! This book is about an amazingly courageous woman named Samra Zafar who is an award-winning international speaker, bestselling author, and social entrepreneur who advocates for equity, inclusion, and human rights. 

Her book, A Good Wife: Escaping the Life I Never Chose speaks about her experience as a child bride leaving Pakistan to move to Canada. Over many months and years she found the strength to walk away from her past and build a new future. It is an UNBELIEVABLY inspiring read and I encourage you to read it for yourself. (March 2019 , HarperCollins)

What I find so interesting is that the power of the belief she had internalized as a young child, in part thanks to her parents, was that she was going to further her education and forge her own path. It is this expectation in regards to her future that enabled her to get out of a horribly oppressive situation. 

This empowered belief remained the beacon as to what was possible for her and led to her escape and complete transformation into a powerful, inspirational change maker. I went to hear Samra speak in November 2019 as part of a book club event and was bowled over by what she has been able to accomplish, so excited by the reach she will have for women (and men) in India and Pakistan and everywhere. What a phenomenal role model she is for all of us! I can’t wait to introduce her to EFT so that her impact can be even greater!

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