Gender equality: how far have we come?
Gender equality: how far have we come?
We could say that we have come a long way with gender equality, but how far have we actually come? And are we truly evolving?
The question of equal rights and opportunities for women is one which has been under debate for many more centuries than is on record. Twenty-four centuries ago Plato argued for the political and sexual equality of women, and throughout the ages, many men and women from every part of the globe have continued to put forward the case for equality of the sexes.
In more recent times – the late 19th/early 20th century England, a strand of ‘women’s rights’ re-surfaced with the advent of women’s suffrage – the focus being on overturning legal inequalities and establishing the vote for women; and also on campaigning for the availability of birth control so that women could have that ultra-important say in what happened to their bodies.
With the resurgence of ‘feminism’ in the Western world in the 1960’s the debate broadened to include cultural, political, and economic rights for women. Good move!
But then what happened?
We got diverted!
At this point in time there began an unprecedented drive by women to not only ‘equal’ men but to ‘out-male’ them – in the bid to climb the corporate ladder, conquer previously unavailable fields of endeavour, and land all manner of high-powered career positions in society. Most women launched into this crusade of ‘equal opportunity’ driven by a spirit of competitiveness with men, with a desire to defeat and outdo men at their own game.
Women should indeed have equal rights and access to their chosen career path and life-style . . . and yet looking at what has happened over the last 50 years, can we say that we now have true equality between the genders? And could it be that something precious may have been lost along the way, as a result of the way we went about it?
What now? Do we have another diversion happening?
In September 2014, Emma Watson (of Harry Potter fame), delivered a speech in her capacity as Global Goodwill Ambassador for Women for the UN, launching a campaign to bring an end to gender inequality.
In her speech for the ‘He for She’ initiative, Watson called on men to understand that they themselves are an integral part of the gender equality issue and are likewise imprisoned by gender stereotypes. She stressed that men are as naturally fragile and sensitive as a woman is, and are made to feel insecure and compromised by what is traditionally deemed to be ‘male success’. The pressure on men to be and behave in a ‘tough’ stereotyped manner has not only affected women but also led to a huge incidence of mental health issues for men – with the biggest killer of men in the UK between the ages of 20-49 currently being suicide. Watson appealed to men to re-look at male stereotypes and give themselves and their sons permission to be able to be vulnerable – a quality that has been an absolute ‘no no’ for men to admit to feeling. Men should be able to feel free to be strong, and free to be sensitive, as should women..
So much of what was delivered ‘sounded’ good; but does it present the whole truth? . . . or does it, in fact, lead us away from the truth?
Watson’s very questionable conclusion to her speech was that if men free themselves from male stereotypes then women will be free as a natural consequence:
- if men don’t have to be aggressive to be accepted then women won’t be compelled to be submissive;
- if men don’t need to control then women will not need to be controlled.
In other words, if men fix themselves up then everything will naturally be okay for women?
What if the way forward was an equal responsibility from both genders?
There is a growing awareness that men do need to become aware of the imposed stereotypical behaviours that rob them of their natural sensitivity, vulnerability and tenderness. And this change, albeit small, is beginning to occur. Though, do either gender need to wait for the other to make the first move? What if change was addressed openly to both sides, thus uniting us to actually be on the same side?
What if men and women realised that the battle of the sexes is just a game that is keeping us from true gender equality?
What if we consented to drop our boxing gloves and surrender to a true love that is within us all equally? Would not a balance be restored to the world, and men and women be greatly inspired to be true to themselves, true to their gender, and true to each other?
Gender equality is in our hands – we cannot leave this to anyone else.
"Maleness is the activity that creates. Femaleness is the stillness that holds – Without the stillness as its foundation, The activity is out of control."Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings and Revelations, p 545