In Qatar, my children use the schoolbus to go and come from school.
One day they had a new busdriver and he got lost, also the busmonitor, the lady who keeps an eye on the children, didn’t know the way.
My daughter searched on google maps and said “turn around, go to the main road and from there I’ll know the way home.”
But No, the driver, a male, had to call the office to ask for the direction. As he was not allowed to drive and call he gave the phone to the monitor. Of course the office didn’t know where they were either. How could they? They didn’t know the way themselves.
But the drivers pride didn’t allow him to take directions from a student and a girl. It would make him feel stupid.
So the monitor asked my daughter to tell the directions and then she translated it for the bus driver who seemed to have the impression he was listing to directions from the office and not from a woman and a girl.
I thought the bus monitor had found a charming solution; they made their way home and she didn’t hurt the feeble male pride of the driver.
“But mum” my girl replied “we’re all making fun of him now at how stupid he must be not to see how he was fooled.”
…. Well what can I say?
Cultural differences are so often in the small things. That driver probably didn’t feel stupid which might for him be more important than being stupid??
My daughter felt being discriminated and not been taken seriously for, and could not understand that a direct solution was less important than his feelings.
But what does those feelings of anger and powerlessness help?
I think the busmonitor understood best to solve these cultural difference between men and women. She solved the situation, that’s what counts.
The situation made me look differently to men-women relations in cultural sense what seemed as repression to me is also a different way of solving problems without hurting some ones feelings. In domestic situations I see now how much more power woman all over the world have then western women can imagine. Because they use their power different and more indirect way, considering others feelings.