Coming out of the patriarchal shadow

´╗┐If you haven’t heard of Meghan Markle, you will probably have by now with the media fanfare surrounding the royal wedding. But had you heard about the newest member of the royal family prior to her being Prince Harry’s wife? If you knew she was an actress, then good for you. You must have been checking out the American acting scene. But many people arguably knew about her via her connection to Prince Harry, which is not good.

How many times have we seen women only prominent when linked to powerful male figures? Unfortunately this perpetuates the stereotype of women being subservient to men. The media are keen to mention women in relation to men, but not the other way round. Sheryl Sandberg is COO of Facebook. Do you know who Sheryl Sandberg’s husband is? That’s right, you wouldn’t. But that’s because the media don’t often print it.

You may also attribute this to the fact of the glass ceiling in many corporate organisations. Not many women reach high enough positions to merit mention. By the way, while you may know ex Prime Minister David Cameron’s wife is Samantha Cameron, do you know who current Prime Minister Theresa May’s husband is? Anonymous.

There are many examples such as this throughout the course of history. Fanny Hensel was an accomplished pianist and composer. She composed many piano works and her skill was said to be as good as any a composer’s but why did she not became even more popular? According to a piano teacher in Muswell Hill, it was because in a patriarchal society, her worth was only judged by its link to men. Which is why Fanny Hensel gets more recognition when she is known as Fanny Mendelssohn, brother of Felix.

We need to promote the role of women. Society is changing and women must emerge from the shadow of men!