If we don’t know where we are going, how can we know when we arrive? To avoid running around aimlessly towards the equality of men and women, we first of all need to know what we mean by equality.
Equality has many different meanings, one being that two objects are the same in every way. Obviously, men and women are not the same and never will be, so if the question means, “Will men and women ever be the same?” the answer would be “No.”
Unfortunately, in the present set-up, many women try to be equal to men in a system designed by men to suit the interests and abilities of men. The parliamentary system and legal system reflect male thinking in that both use adversarial methods to settle disputes and make decisions and plans.
A woman entering those systems has to prove herself to be at least as tough as the men in a male-oriented game. The system doesn’t change to reflect female thinking; so a woman must play like a man.
In the Pygmalion stage play, Henry Higgins asks a question that sounds more like a prayer, “Why can’t a woman be more like a man?” It seems that the present desire of women to be equal to men is granting Henry’s prayer.
The best we can expect from the present system is that the decisions made will be influenced to some degree by input from women. That isn’t real equality and makes little progress towards equality.
Real progress towards equality will be made when our social systems and structures change to also reflect female thinking. I don’t know what decision-making method would emerge if women were freed from submitting to the male-dominated system, but the adversarial system is not the only possibility.
For example, Gandhi gave us the truth-seeking method that takes competition for personal power out of debating to find the most workable solution to whatever the problem is. The point I make here is that it’s just possible men and women, working together, can come up with a better way.
Will men and women ever be equal? I’ve heard it said there are no wrong questions; there are only wrong answers. This question proves this saying is false. It’s a nonsense question because men and women are already equal. The question should be, “Will men ever accept that men and women are equal?”
The equality of men and women is a natural truth, just like “water seeks it’s own level” is a natural truth. Men have dominated women for centuries and came to believe male domination is natural.
Men can certainly do some things better than women, and it appears to be all the important things, but again that is only because the whole system we live in is suited to what men do best. If our social, legal and parliamentary systems were set up to suit what women do best, it would appear that women are superior to men.
The answer to the intent of the question is: Men and women will be seen as equal when the overall system we live in, and the rules we live by, emanate from the equality of men and women.
Bob Myers, Brierly Street, Warrnambool