Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why Women's Issues are Important Today

Related issues bombard the news: issues of the LGBT and other minority communities all continue to be contentious political issues as politicians interested in appealing to the widest range of people try to delicately wade through this politically charged modern world.  This makes me optimistic for pressing for further sexual equality, but while we can imagine a world of racial equality, it is a world of gender equality and without restrictive gender roles that remains a mystery to us.

I tried to picture such a world, I couldn't help but imagine same-sex couples interspersed with heterosexual couples, the burden of traditional gender roles shattered.  Men and women in all variety of fashion and clothes, from dresses to suits to togas to nude maybe.  I sort of imagined an African woman reading from a Nook sitting on some steps while a woman of Asian descent spoke with wild hand gestures on her Blackberry.  An effeminate looking man in a suit swept the floor, and an Arabic man in jeans and a T-shirt painted a wild design on the public wall.  Meanwhile a Scandinavian woman in business garb held open the door for a man of uncertain background who had floor plans in both his arms.  I guess that's a bit too far-fetched and bizarre, but really what does a world of gender equality look like?

Indeed, a lot of people hold onto a traditional idea of gender roles. They believe that such roles exist to strengthen society, or that gender equality already exists.  Else they've been stung by reverse sexism. The problem with reverse sexism is that being resentful of it does nothing for either side. Perhaps affirmative action has gotten a bad rap, but the fact of the matter is that women are not equally represented today, and are even still repressed. It is just that sexism even when it doesn't overtly bear that title, still exists.

Women as existing persons are not a minority, they make up a little over half the population. Why aren't we in a larger percentage of leadership positions everywhere? There have been theories on the percentage to reach in order to no longer be seen as a minority, somewhere around 30% before one is seen as a worker before being a token.

The stunning question is what if not enough women want that sort of life?  How can women achieve these numbers?  Is it possible to achieve these numbers?  Many women choose to be stay-at-home moms, or else take lower paying jobs because they don't need to be the primary bread-winners.  I believe that in freedom of choice they should do this, but I also believe that freedom of choice implies I should not have to work twice as hard to earn half as much respect.

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