So it’s international women’s day – a day established to celebrate women and inspire gender equality. Although judging by the fact that just eight of the 32 influencers profiled on the IWD website, are women, I’m guessing that the message of the day has yet to be understood by the very people promoting it, and that it’s acceptable to take oneself up a fire escape and scream: ‘why God did you make me a woman?’
A special mention for anyone who does this and PMs it to me, btw.
I think gender equality is a ridiculous pursuit; like looking for unicorns. It’s wonderfully trendy in the liberal, democratic (kind-of) west to insist upon it; even though we’re not leading by example. If I had a penny for every article I read on the need to ‘break the glass ceiling’, I could afford to pimp my home by installing one.
And what about the majority of the world? Where tribalism, patriarchal structures, religious bigotry, poverty and cultural taboos or norms silence and disenfranchise women every day of their lives? What about the women – products as we all are to some extent of our environments – who argue against gender equality – like extreme Muslim converts who insist that women should completely cover themselves and subordinate themselves to the will of their husbands? Is equality simply irrelevant to them? Or is it something that should be insisted upon by other groups, entities, states?
Is the equality that is enforced against the will of the people an inequality?
Gender inequality has always prevailed because humanity thrives on imbalance. Our need to be powerful, to dominate and be dominated has produced complex power structures and behavioural politics that can’t be ignored in discussions about women and equality.
The language of the debate doesn’t help. We talk about addressing the gender gap, when one addresses the reasons for the gap, not the gap itself. And in this debate, too much time is taken focusing on the void. We should be thinking creatively of how to fill it – how to re-educate, to nurture, to sow seeds within different societies.
I’ll leave you with an image of a Barbie doll I once saw.
The packaging said ‘Barbie knows anything is possible.’
Underneath was written: ‘Caution: doll cannot stand alone.’