One thing that angers me more than anything else is when I hear people claim that nowadays women have equality with men – I also wonder what planet they live on because it can’t be earth.
This viewpoint isn’t confined to just men, if anything I think women are the worse culprits. However, if the record sales of ‘Fifty shades of Grey’ are anything to go by, it seems women deep down don’t want equality at all – and that is even scarier.
But two stories in the news over Christmas, firmly place women’s issues back into the spotlight. That of the Pakistani teenager shot in the head for speaking out about the right to an education, and the tragic case of the 23 year old woman raped in Delhi and left to die on the roadside, while passersby ignored her friend’s pleas for help and the police argued for thirty minutes about whose responsibility she was.
These stories are shocking, but that is not why they have made the headlines. How many women are raped each day, week, year in India, but whose stories don’t make the news because they are poor, or to ashamed to report it (and lack the confidence a university education gives)? How many girls are denied an education, through violence (who weren’t writing a blog for the BBC)?
It would be nice to think that at least we women in the UK are equal – but the recent allegations that have come to light at the BBC reveal that women are still regarded as second class, a bit of eye candy and not to be taken seriously. Wage inequality persists, despite the fact women are now graduating university with better degrees than men, and
‘the sanction detection rate* for violence against the person was 44.5%, and for rape 29.9%, the 2010/2011 Home Office statistics show.’
Any woman who makes a stand against this inequality is either assumed to be a lesbian, or frigid, and any woman that, despite the hurdles of upbringing and expectation, excels in a given field, is accused of being a man in drag. To be feminine, one must be obedient and non competitive – says who?
How can it be that 50% of the world’s population are still treated as second class citizens? What are we teaching our daughters that they think the way to happiness is snagging a rich husband? Why do I hear women say, I could never work for a female boss, as if sex was a deciding factor in our leadership skills.
Imagine for a moment, if we divided the world population by eye colour and all those with blue eyes were told they were better than everybody else – what would the impact of that be on those without blue eyes? Would the non blue-eyed people accept they were less clever, important, rational etc than the blue-eyed people, or would they rightly assert that eye colour has nothing to do with how good someone is at driving, or map reading, or cooking, or managing others.
Being male or female (or somewhere between) is a biological difference, like eye colour. Unfortunately we have attached to this the concept of gender. Gender is a set of expectations about how we must conduct ourselves, based on whether we are born girl or boy. Gender stereotypes limit both males and females. Have you seen how boring the menswear section is?
To claim feminism is ‘so last century’ – is at best short sighted and at worse, a sinister way of keeping 50% of the world beholden to the other 50%.
“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.” Hillary Clinton
Blue eyes or brown eyes – what does it matter?
What do you think? Are women less than men? Is feminism dead? Is the UK equal? All comments, as long as they are not abusive, will be published. The floor is yours.
*These are defined as the percentage of crimes for which someone is charged, summonsed, and receives a caution or other formal sanction.