Kevryn Lim shares 4 reasons why gender equality still has a long way to go
In the era of the ‘liberated woman’ it frustrates me that despite the advent of gender equality, women still need to define their place in society, in the proverbial shadow of their male counterparts. Why do we have more advocacy groups than solutions? Why do we still drag the issues of the past into present generations? It is almost as if we don’t want to see equality, and would much rather settle for constant debate.
All things considered, I feel that there are four major reasons why gender equality still has a long way to go to be achieved or realised. I write these opinions with the hope that they will spark a conversation about what true equality means.
1.The fear of Equality being a front for Supremacy
The first reason there is still no gender equality is that often, we cannot distinguish equality from supremacy. It is still a sad reality that when one group of people seek to claim their rights, those who have been in the driver’s seat or the other side fear this to be a push for supremacy. In this equation, if women want an equal right to vote it means that men will no longer lead, or if men want to be recognised as being equally important as mothers when it comes to family law it means women will be undermined in the eyes of their children. Isn’t that absurd?
When privileged people cannot envision a change in society that could undermine their authority or that would potentially afford others a chance to change their social standing, it is seen as a threat and they do all they can to break down the progress. This type of fear limits one’s ability to listen to the problems of the other. They are quick to throw out empty statistics, believe myths over the truth, and will always turn a blind eye to real issues. This creates a culture of unhealthy debating that keeps the genders apart.
To make matters worse, when gender focused groups like feminists or men’s rights advocates preach a message of equality, but only raise the issues of their own gender it could add to the confusion that gender equality is actually a front for supremacy. If it is equality you truly seek, your discourse should not always be so one sided. Call me an idealist but at the end of the day we are humans who will always respond to messages of equality that do not include everyone with fear and suspicion.
2. There are very little checks and balances
Checks and balances allow us to measure progress and focus on the areas that need the most work. When you have been fighting for something for so long, without checking to see what progress you have made, you may run the risk of inadvertently creating a never-ending problem. For example in the United States and Europe, recent statistics has increasingly leaned toward disproving the existence of a wage gap between men and women. Yet we still argue these matters today without stopping to check to see if it is all true or not. If equality is truly what we seek then we should constantly be checking to see our progress and reporting it in the media. You hardly ever hear news of progress being made in gender equality issues, hence the average person might be easily swayed into believing issues that do not represent the whole truth.
Simply put; if we are not measuring progress then we face the risk of not knowing how to reach a conclusion. We will forever remain in the realm of guesswork and not winning people over to the side of progress.
3. Men suck at advocating for gender equality
Let’s face it, whenever someone mentions gender equality you never think of men advocating for anything. That’s because for the longest time it was women who needed to fight for their rights. As a result, women are well versed in matters of equality, and are much better at educating society in observing women’s rights. Men need to step up and start helping society understand how to strike a balance in gender equality issues.
Gender equality for far too long has been seen as something that is only relevant to women and the development of the female agenda. This has the potential to create three problems. One, gender equality gets the false image of being something that is relevant to women alone. Two, you risk creating an imbalance in policy as only one side is ever heard and three, you create problems that future generations will have to spend years trying to resolve.
Take little Jimmy’s story as an example. Regardless of where little Jimmy is in the world he will see more girls in his classroom, more girls in his lecture room, more girls in his office and in positions of authority, and above all, very little people in his life willing to stand up for his future as a man. If you are content to see a world where women are stronger than men and vice versa then you do not seek equality. However you cannot expect society to reach equality if you do not contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
4. Gender appeasement is not how you enforce Gender Equality
Last but not least is what I like to call gender appeasement. Gender appeasement is when the system resolves issues by just giving men and women what they want instead of what is fair. This allows us to abuse the system and takes the attention away from people with real issues, or are the real victims of inequality. Policy makers should ensure that the system should be representative of both sides and not motivated solely by their guilt for not representing the views of the party in question over a long period.
There are case studies all over the world where you see appeasement rearing its nasty head disguised as a policy. For example in Detroit, a man is in jail for not paying child support for a child that a DNA test proved wasn’t his. Take for example the countless number of women who have their rape cases thrown out because the system wishes to preserve an image of perfection among men. This has to stop. We cannot keep talking about equality and have massive loopholes in policy.
All in all gender equality is one of those things that requires true partnership between genders. If we limit ourselves to believe that true gender equality is too idealistic to achieve then we should stove advocating and writing about it. I truly believe that there will come a day where we will look back and laugh at how we dealt with gender. Till then we must continue to fight for a balanced view of gender and build a society with strong advocates, men and women both.
Contributor: Kevryn Lim
Kev holds a Masters in Professional Communications and travel blogs for Vanilla Luxury. To satisfy her wanderlust, she spends her free time exploring new places around the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram @kevylicious