If there was no gender issue anymore …
I’ve been taught in a conversation that Europe is healed from gender discrimination,
that we have overcome gender-related thinking.
Well, this thesis made me think. In fact, it motivated to find proof for that.
If there is no gender issue anymore why do my male 12 year old students find it hard or embarrassing to answer the question: “If you were a girl, what would you do?”
If there is no gender issue anymore why is the only boy who answered me laughed down or even attacked by the other boys who didn’t dare to answer?
His answer was: “If I was a girl, I’d be fabulous.”
This made me think.
If gender doesn’t matter anymore why are there still sexist comments on women’s trials to complain about other men in higher positions, even in our exemplary universities?
If there is no gender issue anymore, how can anyone explain the fact that woman still get a lower pension even though they worked as much as man?
There are voices trying to give reasonable explanations for differences in salaries of women and men. Like: Negotiating your salary depends on your individual skills and strategies. No doubt, this argument could be right. But if we carry this forward, this argument implies that the majority of women, or even women in general, do not possess the ability to negotiate in a similar way as men.
And we have to carry on this argument to this ridiculous conclusion because the statistics prove that woman receive a lower salary. If we take this as a state of facts, it would mean that woman are limited in their negotiation skills through biology?
Or, even if we deny this conclusion it will reveal another aspect in how our western society is disadvantaging women: By limiting their opportunities to educate women in the same way as men?
One would disagree in this respect because statistics show more women finishing a higher school diploma or visiting the universities. And there is nothing wrong with pointing out this achievement. Still, this statistics do not accomplish to present women’s situation in a holistic way.
Researches (“Battle of sexes”, Hohenheim 2006) proved that woman are behaving differently when it comes to negotiations or competitions in business matters: The study showed that men are more likely to close a competition in a distributive way, a way that excludes the opportunity to achieve a win-win situation, whereas, women showed an integrative way of ending it. The observations verified that women tried to take also the counterpart’s interests into account. This difference in behavior appeared when the counterpart was male.
If gender issues are not a topic anymore why are woman more likely to sacrifice or make a compromise when it comes to decisions within relations?
This question is referring to one aspect that needs to undergo further researches. But what can be taken for sure now, is that there are still more women who choose to stay at home when a child was born. Some women might take this decision less consciously, but some feel forced to do so because their husbands would earn more money.
And those who don’t feel forced to do it because of their economical circumstances?
Well, I would assert that they ARE forced to give in. Simply, because they have no choice by matters of not being wised up. And what I mean by that I’ll need to speak verbosely.
Most European countries and, above all the U.S., are accusing the Muslim countries for suppressing women and their rights. But did WE really overcome middle-class virtues already? Virtues that apply themselves to patriarchic figures to safeguard them? Virtues that force women to subordinate themselves to a person who guides them and knows their assignation better than they do?
If gender doesn’t matter anymore why can a husband still dictate over his wife where, how long and with whom she can go anywhere?
By conserving the same structures in which a man has to be the protector, the hero, the strong one, women are not challenged to think, to question their role anymore. In fact, by being assigned to their role as mother and sometimes ONLY the mother women lose their freedom to upgrade one’s education. They miss a change to be enlightened to understand that they are not considered being the same level as men. And on the other hand, men miss the chance to free themselves as well by sharing responsibility.
And even if women find the strength to divorce, their economic situation won’t allow them that easily to continue one’s studies, especially if there is a child in play. Being a caring mother AND the sole breadwinner is not allowing the women to get in contact with institutions who support them in their improvement.
But one thing is remained unsaid though…
The above mentioned study showed that if negotiation competitions are done with the same gender women also tend to behave in a more distributive way. It shows us that a revolution where women would take over the power entirely wouldn’t change our world. Another hegemony would simply replace the other. In the end it’s not our fight FOR women that could actually change our world. It’s our thinking that would do it:
A thinking in which gender is nothing that should be perceived as superior or inferior, a thinking that would deny categories and accept variety. And respect it with the aim to integrate everyone’s interests. This kind of world would probably not think of elbows and wars anymore…
We would not praise our fathers anymore for teaching us being strong,
Foto by Melanie Gilligan