What do women really want?

Ruben Almendras - The Freeman

Women are aplenty in the news lately, like Hillary Clinton who will be the presumptive Democrat standard bearer in the coming U.S. presidential election come November, and Mrs. Trump delivering a partly copied speech from Mrs. Obama in the Republican convention nominating Donald Trump as their candidate. The new prime minister of Great Britain, Theresa May, is a woman, as the two leading candidates were women. Then there is the story of a social media star Pakistani woman who was choked to death by her brother, as "honor killing" as he wants her sister to get out of show business. And then the Japanese women were complaining that Japan has the least percentages of women in executive positions in both the government and the private sector, even at this day and age.

The situation of women in the Philippines is definitely better than in Pakistan and Japan and in many countries. In the last survey of percentages of women in top positions, the Philippines was in the top 10 among the almost 100 countries surveyed. Women in the Philippines are holding chairman of the board positions and I believe there are two Filipinas that are in the "Most Powerful Women in Asia" list, one of them Ms. Tessie Sy Coson of the SM Group of companies. While there are still abused women that make the news, these are now rare incidents in the Philippines as Filipino women now stand for their rights and they fight. We had two women presidents and we now have a woman vice president.

When I was teaching at the University of the Philippines in Cebu and used to lecture in other universities, I recall that my women students in Economics, Management Accounting and Finance always outnumbered and excelled over the men. Then in the last 10 years in our Financial Executives (FINEX) Association in Cebu, there are more women. Of course eventually they were able to hold most of the officer/directorship position of the association; and they had actually done a better job of running the organization than when more men were at the helm. So when one day I was asked, if it bothered me that so many women are in positions of influence and power I replied, "So what else is new?"

"What do women really want ?" There is a story I read long time ago that I want to retell before it escapes me that capsulizes what most (more than majority) women really want. I modified the story for the sake of clarity and because I recall the names in the story conflict with other medieval stories:

Once upon a time, there was a King who was captured by the King of a neighboring kingdom. He was sentenced to death, but he would be given his freedom if he can answer the most important question that bothered the King that captured him. This old King was so perplexed about women even if he had been married to many women and for a long time had wanted to know the answer before he dies. The question was, "What do women really want?"  The captive king was given a year to answer or he will be executed. From his prison cell, the king was allowed to consult all his advisers, royal friends, wise men and even the court jester, but none could give a satisfactory answer. Then the witches in his kingdom suggested that he should ask the wickedest witch of them all for surely she had the answer. The King sent for the witch, and the witch said she knew the answer; but she had to be given a prize as the price for giving the answer. The price/prize was that the handsomest and most valiant knight of the King will have to marry the witch. The noble King did not want to ask his knight to marry the vilest, ugliest and dirtiest of the witches and would rather die, but the nobler knight persuaded the King and volunteered to marry the witch for the sake of preserving the kingdom. So the witch told the King the answer to "What do women really want?" and when he announced the answer to the other King in front everyone in both kingdoms, everyone agreed it was the correct answer. The captive king was freed and the wedding of the knight and the witch was held. On honeymoon night, the knight dreadfully walked into the bridal room and saw the most beautiful woman lying in bed waiting for him. He asked, "What happened?"

The woman replied, "because of your noble deed of sacrificing to marry an ugly, vile and dirty witch, I have turned myself into a beautiful woman half day at a time. I can be beautiful by day and ugly at night, or I can be ugly by day and beautiful at night. I will be what you want me to be, by day or by night." The knight pondered whether he wants her to be pretty by day so he can show her to his friends or beautiful at night when she will her beautiful for himself to enjoy. He finally answered, "you decide when you want to be beautiful and when you want to be ugly, and it will be alright with me." With this answer, the witch replied, "because again of your nobleness, I will be beautiful for you, the whole day and the whole night." And they lived happily ever after.

And the answer to the question "What women really want" was "to have a great degree of control of their lives." And the moral of the story, "if a woman does not get her way, it's going to get ugly."



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