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How do we achieve gender equality?

I was look at a question on TED earlier today about the violent transfer of power, it turned into a debate about gender equality. So I decided to make a conversation where that actually fits. My questions are: What is gender equality? What do we need to do to reach gender equality? How will we reach it? I hope this generates some interesting ideas, answers, and discussions.

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Closing Statement from Erin Tuncan

Thank you all for your opinions and comments! I think we all learned something. There still isn't an answer yet, not that I expected there to be, but I believe that talks, like this one, are going to lead to the answer or answers. I may open this question again, so keep an eye out! Thanks again!

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    Feb 13 2012: I'm not sure I entirely understand the need for 'across the board' gender equality. I don't think it can ever exist. If females want to be the same as males, we would have to manipulate and distort biological (and possibly psychological) certainties to the point where we would all have to become hermaphrodites. It is clearly absurd. It offends the evolutionary trajectory we have taken.

    In my opinion, feminism is just as damaging and divisive as the macho society it seeks to change. All it does is to further enhance the gaping gulf between the two sexes.

    Instead of equality, I propose mutual respect. Just accept that we are different, and that women do certain things far better than men - and men do certain other things better than women. It is the preservation of difference that makes us flourish as a species. It makes us intelligent. It makes us sexual.
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      Feb 13 2012: What makes you believe females want to be the same as males?
      Do you think feminism brought nothing good?
      'We are different, and women do certain things far better than men - and men do certain other things better than women' - does that mean both can't be good at something one?
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        Feb 13 2012: Julija, if you wanted to change something oppressive - something deliberately inflammatory, debasing and disempowering, how (in general terms, rather than specific) would you set about changing it?

        Would you attack it from the standpoint of polarized opposition to the original problem, or seek to 'persuade' from the position of empathic understanding?

        Which would work better? Which one would be the most effective in reducing that oppression?
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          Feb 14 2012: Yeah.. I got a feeling three questions in a row is a bad combination; seems to be too much 'attacking'.
          But the only thing I want to do is to understand better the attitude you and others have.
          I read you reply, some questions emerged, I asked.
          I did not want to answer to the main topic (similar topics appear several times a week here), but some answers attracted me, the one raised the questions, which keep standing.
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        Feb 14 2012: I wasn't attacking you Julija.

        Like you, I ask questions in order to try and understand the subject and the people who speak about them.

        I'm genuinely interested in what you think about Erin's question from your perspective as a woman, and whether gender equality (or mutual respect) can be achieved through feminism - or something else?
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          Feb 14 2012: Hey! I was talking about myself, about my questions!
          It can't be achieved fully by feminism, but it's the tool to reach something certain quite fast compared to the process of traditions dying out which is main and overall but slow.
    • Feb 13 2012: Mutual respect was more the word I want to question, I missused equality in my original question, thus leading the question from its original intent. How do you propose we bring about this mutual respect?
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        Feb 14 2012: Hi Erin. I don't think mutual respect can ever come about from the polarization of opinion or belief, although it does appear to be a natural reaction people adopt to change something that appears to them to be extreme, or goes against what they represent.

        People have physical and psychological characteristics that they are born with. It is either genetic or circumstantial. There is no way that can be changed, even if they wanted to change. If someone then comes along and says "It offends me that you are male (or female)" or "I don't like the the fact you are black (or white)" or "You should not subscribe to that religion (or that science)", it becomes deeply offensive.

        The knee-jerk reaction is to then to polarize and to form extreme opposing groups. Like feminism against the male-dominated society.

        I think polarization comes about through the influences of opinion-forming outside agencies, like parental influences, politics, the media, the politicized and commodified forms of religion. As autonomous individuals without such influences, we would have little need to form these extremes.

        We only need to look at our children to see that untainted innocence bears no grudge against anyone at all. Children are free from prejudice and are all accepting, until their opinions are formed from exposure to outside influences that we adults have deemed to be the correct way to behave.

        Is this perhaps telling us that those outside influences are no longer fit for purpose in forming societies?

        I am of the opinion that the same outside influences have also given rise to many mental health problems. But maybe that is a subject for another thread.

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