Monday, May 4, 2015

Equality of the Sexes

There’s much talk about the equality of the sexes these days. It wasn’t always that way. Women were delegated to Kinder, K├╝che, Kirche (children, kitchen and church). Many fields, such as higher education, medicine or engineering, were closed to them. A woman’s pay was about half of what a man earned for identical work. 

World War II caused a change in that inequality. While the men were fighting the enemy, women had to take over in the homeland. "Rosie the Riveter" worked in the factories, the farmer’s wife managed the farm, women pitched in wherever men once labored. Lo and behold, they did an admirable job.

The time had finally come to grant women a better education. Not surprisingly, women turned into good doctors, bright scientists, and capable engineers. They’ve become astronauts and explore space.

Equality at last. Well, not quite yet, but we’re getting there.

Let me define equality of the sexes. Does it mean that there’s no difference between the sexes? Not at all. Men and women may have as little in common as Cabbages and Kings. As the Walrus says in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass:

                     "The time has come," the Walrus said,
                     "To talk of many things:
                     Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
                      Of cabbages and kings …
                      And why the sea is boiling hot--
         And whether pigs have wings."

The variety of topics that the Walrus suggests is just as broad as the range and depth of the differences between men and women.  

The French have a colorful saying for it: Vive la difference!

Women may have adopted the male fashion of wearing pants. So be it. The Scotts used to wear skirts, but neither clothes nor gender affects the value of a person. Look at the snowflake — not two are alike, nor are two human thumbprints, much less two women or two men, not even identical twins. Nature abounds in variety.

We may be tempted to classify all rats and mosquitoes as “annoying pests.” Yet rats and mosquitoes might feel quite hurt by our flagrant oversimplification.

Men and women will never be identical, but they need to be equal before the law and in their opportunities of pursuing happiness.

Goodbye to all bias based on gender!

Until next time,