Thursday, 16 October 2014

Blog Action Day - Inequality

Without much notice, I agreed to take part in Blog Action Day which happens each year, and where thousands of bloggers throughout the world unite in blogging about a particular issue.  I had hoped to write several articles, but, coming in a busy week, and with no forward planning, this will have to do. 

The theme this year is inequality.  Immediately, my mind went into overdrive.  Inequality.  We live in an unequal world.  I live in an unequal society, and in a city where inequality is all around.  What could I pick?  In the UK right now, we see the rise of new right wing racists in UKIP.  We see the poor and disabled derided by politicians.  Islamophobia, homophobia, xenophobia and anti-Semitism are rife.  But I will concentrate on gender equality.

50% of the population (give or take a few hundredths of a percent) is male.  50% is female.  Over the last century, women, historically seen as the property and servants of men, have achieved the vote, equal pay (supposedly) and equal rights (supposedly).  Yet misogyny and discrimination live on.

When Margaret Thatcher died (and, don't get me wrong, I am no fan), a lot of the commentary seemed to centre on her womanhood - her lack of femininity, the fact that she was a cow, a bitch, a witch.  Although it was right to mention the fact that she was the first woman PM in the UK, I felt that much of the commentary was inappropriate.

Women everywhere are subject to personal comments about their appearance, or sexual allure.  They are told by most church leaders that they can do the flowers and make the tea, but cannot take office.  They are expected to be homemakers and domestic goddesses, and a constant stream of media ensures they feel that they fail in their womanly duties.

This is wrong.  It is simply wrong.  Men and women are equal.  Sure, they have a different biology, and sure that sometimes influences different character traits.  Sure, men are larger and stronger.  All the more reason to make sure women are not disadvantaged.  I am proud to be a feminist (if a man may be).  I see no reason why all opportunities open to men should not be open to women.  I believe that no-one should be seen as a sexual object, should suffer personal comments on their appearance, should be put into a box because of their sex.

This is a challenge.  I recognise in myself that I have sometimes taken male privilege for granted.  I ask you, dear reader, what have you done to minimise sexual inequality?  Do you make unwelcome comments?  Do you assume a women will be good or bad at a certain task?  Do you recognise the worth of all?

Women are not yet equal in the UK.  One day, I hope they will be.

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