The right to equality

It is International Women’s Day. There are a lot of informative and inspirational articles out there, celebrating the achievements of womankind and highlighting the many social and cultural injustices for which, it seems, we still have to work before they can be redressed. The centuries have shifted woman from a place of matriarchal respect through every level of importance, nonentity and dismissal. As we now celebrate a swing of that eternal pendulum, there is, even within our own society, still a prevalent and insidious idea that the ‘little woman’ is somehow less than capable of being the equal of men… an idea that manifests itself almost invisibly by the raising of a surprised eyebrow when a woman exceeds expectations, even from those whose conscious thought would deny any such concept.

The Women’s Lib movement achieved a great deal in highlighting the need to balance the scales in both home and workplace and such things needed to be addressed. I recall my own dismay long ago upon finding that the men I was training in a job were automatically paid 25% more than I was, even with my seniority! I also recall the lengths many women went to in their pursuit of a perceived equality that seemed, even to my young eyes, more like competition than celebration. And, given the burned bras, the thought of what the topless wielder of a pneumatic drill would look like in later life was not one I wished to contemplate.

Call me reactionary, but I am not so sure women need to compete with men, proving we can do or be ‘as good as’ them. It should not need to be a comparative battle of the sexes, but a celebration of the complementary nature of our individual strengths. My son got it right as far as I am concerned, when long ago I was called into school. They were concerned because, during one lesson my small son had referred to God as a ‘she’. When I asked him about it, he simply replied that as God made people, cared for them, looked after things, then logically, God was a ‘she’, as that is what women do. I defended his position. Although simplistic, it made sense and it was his choice. The school were later horrified by the progression of that thought when he decided that actually, God must be a ‘He-She’ as you had to have both for everything to work as it should.

Equality, however, is more serious than whether we are allowed to go topless on a building site. There are many areas, across the globe, where women are still little more than chattels, subject to the whim of the ruling male and denied all liberty. Genital mutilation, child rape, forced marriage… these are amongst the deepest problems and must be addressed, challenged, eradicated. Not because of cultural or religious bias, but simply because women are human beings and have a basic human right to choose how we live.

We have a Universal Declaration of Human Rights; this document, though widely recognised, sadly still reflects an ideal rather than how many are obliged to live. Yet we live in an age where we constantly move around the globe, rendering borders, and thus the cultures in which we might live, more flexible than they have ever been. In the Western World women and men work side by side and the traditional roles have blurred and merged. Gender is no longer ineradicably fixed.

International Women’s Day isn’t about women. We are simply an example of what is and has been out of kilter in society. It is about human rights… the right to be oneself, to be free, to earn respect and recognition consummate with our personal efforts rather than because of a single defining factor of birth. Instead of having to fight for the rights of any group within society, isn’t it time we simply began to value the unique contribution that each of us can make to this life?

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
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12 Responses to The right to equality

  1. sknicholls says:

    Despite the fact that nursing has been a female dominated field for centuries, men in the filed are paid at least 25% to 33% more. I asked a supervisor about this once when a male nurse was bragging about his significantly higher pay. She said it was because when he was present he also served as an orderly. I suppose when he wasn’t present the fact that we did the same work didn’t matter. Humph!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. KL Caley says:

    This is a beautifully structured and well argued article Sue – well done! I think it could actually be extended celebrating differences and independence regardless of not only sex, but race, origin, ethnicity, etc also. Well done
    Oh, and I love your sons theory, his teachers could have learned a thing or two from him, did he grow up to be a philosopher, if not, he may have missed his calling 🙂

    Like

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