Andy Ho wrote a half decent commentary of Kanwaljit Soin's recent rant to grant alimony for men. Not so sure I agree with him though. And certainly not with her that men and women are equal and that 'In this era, maintenance should be on the basis of need and not on the basis of sex.' (I think she meant gender.)
It is an important discussion, because it will help us come to terms with what the institution of marriage really is. This does have repercussions for the future, because the earning power of men and women will become less (although I think not for a long time more), and also when the same sex marriage people start pushing their agenda. Actually I am not to sure how much Dr Soin's push for 'gender equality' comes from her close association with AWARE and her ideas of a genderless marriage. This is certainly not advancing the cause of women, but reducing the approriate consideration of the gender based disadvantage that women have in the marriage relationship.
Marriage to my mind is, and will remain an equal partnership where the partners bring different assets and resources into the relationship and are intrinsically unequal. This cannot be denied. On one hand, women tend to marry up (yes, yes, there are exceptions, I know), they bring their womb and eggs and commit to being a mother (and yes, of course there are exceptions!) and by and large, they tend to step down their ambitions and career advancements to look after the home. To this end they become more of a dependent than a provider. This is a reality, and in her push to advance the idea that women are as masculine as men, Dr Soin should not forget this.
But having come into the partnership as non-equals, marriage is an equalizer, and the partnership becomes an equal partnersip, where both have equal responsibilities for the family and child rearing (should there be children). Best of all, family wealth become equally shared.
Within the institution of marriage, there are three recognizable elements should a marriage dissolve:
a] sharing of conjugal property
b] mainenance of the wife as a dependent (in recognition of her dependent status during marriage)
c] continued shouldering of the parental roles, fiscally and functionally.
These are not gender equal, and it is right that the Women's Charter continue to protect the rights of women with respect to these issues. It is true that in some isolated situations, the roles may somehow be reversed, in part of in whole, and the courts should have some leeway in determining how to vary the outcomes accordingly. But these would be by far, the exception than the rule.
Dr Soin, in her attempt to be progressive should not quickly barter these away. Marriage is an equal partnership, but needs to recognize that the individual partners are not true equals.
Above all marriage is not genderless.
5 years ago