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dany masado

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can we reform the discussion surrounding gender inequality?

As of late, the gender discussion seems to dominate the mainstream discussion on social justice. The alarming trend that I have noticed is that it has become a real battle of the sexes where one side accuses the other of causing its demise, which means any progress for one gender is seen as a loss for the other. I am proposing that we start to reframe the gender debate in a way where we can honestly address issues faced by men without saying "men just don't have as bad", in a way where we can address female issues without saying "women complain too much, get over it.
We must remember that progress in gender justice is (or should be) a benefit for all not a sum zero battle. Often, we get caught up if tallying up a score on who has it worse, rather than finding ways to address issues for both sides, simultaneously.
What will you tell your sons or your daughters when they come to you for advice?

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  • Jul 2 2012: I believe what needs to be understood is that Men and Women are different, made different, so they cant have the same platform, position, call it anything. Instead, they have to be at different but equal levels, pedestals. The difference between same and equal needs to be understood. Especially, where I come from.
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      Jul 3 2012: But what if I am not interested in conforming to the gender norms and boundaries you proscribe?
      • Jul 5 2012: These are not the norms I am proscribing ! I am talking about the way men and women have been made ever since the first homo sapiens set foot on earth. Nature has made us that way. There will always be exceptions but as a general there is a difference in what image Man and Woman have been made. I am not for once saying that one is better. No. All I am saying is that each one is in some ways different than the other and hence we talk about equal and not same !!!
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          Jul 5 2012: Yeah... there is a range of how men are.... some men are quite effeminate...some men quite macho...and some women are quite strong. Not me for instance I am 5 foot tall... but my friend Olivia is an athlete who can out run most cubical dwelling men I know...So I really do not know what your point is.

          People were not "made" - people ARE in their fullness unique. Respect that.
      • Jul 5 2012: I believe every sane person respects the fact that "ALL OF US ARE UNIQUE IN OUR OWN LITTLE WAY".
        And I am one of the sane ones too.

        My point is, here we are discussing based on the premise that we are talking about Men and Women, and not jack and Drew or Molly or Sonia or josh. We are taking both the genders as whole. So even though every person is unique, that isn't the question here, though its a very nice thought here. But I will take this thought forward, and say that just as we are all UNIQUE so are MEN and WOMEN on whole and hence my whole argument.
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          Jul 7 2012: What is the outcome you want to see from "understanding" the differences?
      • Jul 10 2012: The outcome from understanding the differences and mutual accept-ion of equal pedestals/platforms would lead to a satisfied and Happy and fulfilled coexistence of both the genders ! What is crucial is that the first part of understanding the differences is a necessary condition for mutual accept-ion of equality.
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      Jul 3 2012: Dear Abhishek, Why then are the women's platfomrs - which usually life sustaining - paid so poorly?
      • Jul 4 2012: Mrs Smith, I believe the reason that women are unequally paid comes a lot from past treatment of the issue. Look at teaching. I'm sure you can remember reading about some small one-room school house with the one teacher who was not afraid to use a ruler to discipline her students. Long before women suffrage or the feminist movement, this was a female-dominated profession. Then women were discriminated against and received low pay. I think the low pay stuck with the profession simply because that was the way we have done it for so long. The lower pay of the teaching profession may have spawned from sexist ideas, but it remains simply because of habit. That being said, it would be incredibly difficult to raise the wage now simply because of how underfunded most public shoals are. People would also be quite upset if taxes were raised to pay for higher teacher salaries as well.

        Overall, I believe that while the lower pay of predominantly women professions was rooted in sexist thinking, its cause today is not from sexism but rather from our society's long history of paying not paying these professions well.
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          Jul 4 2012: Noah, that was an enjoyable answer, thank you.
          I have lived my life under the scrutiny of men who were convinced women because they were women (often on the basis of religious text which pretend to protect us) deserved far less out of life. Yes, traditionally female professions are often under paid. Why should women settle for a wage determined by past beliefs?


          However, your answer did not explain why women should accept such a condition? Are we to pay some penance from centuries gone by even though our own kind died in such bondage?

          Look at the opposite example to see more of what is occuirring today.Please feel free to call me Debra, but I didnote your politeness and kindness. Pharmaceutical sales used to be well paid - when it was male dominated. In order to bring the wage down to the 60s or so, they begam hiring women who were willing to work hard for far less. The companies won and the men lost biggest.

          I still do not understand that if the main direction of religous men by their own texts- is to protect women, and in Christianity it is even to love us as Chist loved the churdch (aka to the very death to save her) -why, then do they oppose us when facts and fund tracking indicate that women take every cent home and use money wisely.
      • Jul 4 2012: Debra, I never said that women should accept such a condition. I believe that a lot of the poor wage goes hand in hand with the profession. The solution though is not to change the wage of the job, but for women to simply choose another profession. If teaching give poor wages, go into a different field. I certainly think that women should be treated equally and they shouldn't "pay some penance" but maybe the best plan is to simply go where the most money is. Of course this is different for those who already are teachers, but for the people who are in college right now, job choice is very important.

        The Pharmaceutical sales problem described seems like an economic incentive instead of sexism. The only reason this ever happened was because a few women agreed to accept lower wages. If those women never agreed to be paid less than men, this wouldn't of happened. Although some employers would of been sexist in their hiring process, in this situation, the only reason the wage dropped was because women accepted it. I'm not saying that is just, but it is what happened. Males and females should be paid equally for equal work, but that is not going to happen if women sell themselves short and accept lower wages.

        And I am sorry if people have judged you or treated you poorly because of their religious beliefs. I am a Christian myself and I am familiar with the passage you mentioned. If a male is discriminating against a female because of his beliefs, I think that is unjust. He should treat both sexes fairly and equally. I believe that you have been personally hurt by this biased judgement; it isn't fair. I believe that the most fitting way to deal with this is by learning how not be like them. The Bible does say that men are supposed to protect their wives, but wives are also supposed to respect their husbands. We always need to be careful that we are actually going for equality and objectively seeking the best way to deal with these issues.
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          Jul 4 2012: Noah, you mentioned an excellent point, "Why do women accept lower wage?".

          I strongly believe that it can be a good starting point to reform and redefine the gender justice scope. The answer of this question is that women don't think of themselves as breadwinners and they expect their husbands to provide total household expenditure. Therefore they are satisfied with a low wage simply because they don't feel obliged to pay for cost of living.

          If we want to make progress in gender justice we should offer a plan which benefits both men and women tangibly. The responsibility for providing cost of living in a family is exactly where we can convince men that gender equality can improve their life too. I want to emphasize that we must subvert this old stereotype that men are primary breadwinners. If women have the same responsibility for living expenditure as men, they will never accept wage lower than men's ones. On the other hand, it can relieve the working pressure on men and they can enjoy the lower working hours per week.
      • Jul 5 2012: Debra,

        You are absolutely right about women using money wisely !!!

        On a serious note,both Men and Women are involved in life sustaining roles. Unequal wages may be cause of how our society has been for the past hundred of years.About equal wages, my first thought is that it is obvious and if the work involved is of equal importance , wages should be equal. I mean that wages should be based on the position value and not gender. And all positions should be open to all.

        A similar story has been doing the rounds about Maria sharapova and the new ruling that states that prize money in tennis will be same for Men and Women. In a recent debate one of the top 20 Men's player opposed the Idea. Here again I think that prize money shouldn't be on the basis of gender but on the premise that are women and Men Tennis matches equally compelling, heart warming, dramatic, entertaining or not ? If yes, then there should be no qualms about equal prize money.
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          Jul 5 2012: Dear Abhishek, (I hope that is proper in your culture)

          If we were paid ofn the 'value" of our work based on roles - no man could afford a woman. How much was it worth for your mother to give you life for example?
          Women and men see joint inputs quite differently, I have learned. Women in general according to the studies believe rewards for success should be equitable and men usually use the word equal but they practice some sort of proportionality. This is a foundational difference.

          As to women spendng money wisely, ask the world bank and major charities. Women are the ones getting the small loans now and they are changing the world with their innovations and industry. They do not drink away that money unless it is in milk that they share with their kids.
      • Jul 10 2012: Dear Debra (yes its fine everywhere I know of )

        About No man can afford a woman and the gift of life, How would my mother have given me that precious gift if it wasn't for My Dad ? Both genders are mutually dependent and equally important.And I can't agree that all men don't subscribe to equitable rewards.

        I don't think that I can subscribe to " affording women" and I believe not many men would. Women aren't commodities, nor are men. No gender can afford the other, but can and should respect, cherish and love the other.

        P.S - It wasn't sarcasm , I actually mean't that women use money wisely !!
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          Jul 10 2012: Dear Abhishek,
          You are complefely right, of course. Sometimes when making a point I have a tendency to overstate. I do think, after a huge amount of experience that my inputs into having my twins for example (who were 8 poungs 8 oz and 8 pound 14 oz at birth) was considerably more than that gasp I remember my then husband making! We may be mutulallly dependent but our inputs are not equal.
          We are not commodities no matter how often we are consdered in those terms. Thanks for making that so wonderfully plain!
          D

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