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So, Are We Equals?

Back in 1979 I took a class in feminism and feminist theology. There were something like twenty-five women and three men in the class. The instructor was, of course, female. Somewhere towards the end of the semester one of the men said he wouldn’t, didn’t, feel guilty about men’s role in the different forms of oppression perpetrated against women. He receive support from the group, mostly because we all recognised that guilt can be a very destructive emotion, particular when a person or group cannot let it go. However, I said, not in any way aggressively but more reflectively, that if a man did not feel perhaps a little guilt for just a brief moment he probably “didn’t get it.” That was thirty-five years ago and I fear we men still don’t get it. And I see no contagion of guilt afflicting my brothers.

We’ve just celebrated International Women’s Day. As part of that day a short video about sexual inequality, featuring Daniel Craig playing James Bond and Judi Dench (as narrator) playing M, circulated in Cyberspace. All the strap lines I saw headlined that macho Bond actor Daniel Craig dressed in drag for the video. I suspect Mr. Craig would agree with me when I say that kind of misses the point.

The Bond Video was made by Equals and I encourage you to watch it, but let me list a few of the statistics M shares with Bond, given that he is rather fond of women:

  • Men still get paid more than women for doing the same job;
  • Men are less likely to be judged for promiscuous behaviour and hardly have any chance of being a victim of sexual assault;
  • Men are more likely to become political leaders and chief executives;
  • There is no real risk to a man’s career if he becomes a parent while 30,000 women in the UK lose their jobs each year when they become parents;
  • Women are responsible for two-thirds of the work done worldwide, but earn only 10% of the total income and own only 1% of the property;
  • Worldwide 70 million girls are deprived of education and 60 million are sexually assaulted on their way to school;
  • One in four women are victims of domestic violence;
  • Every week in the UK two women are killed by a current or former partner.

The video ends with M asking Bond: So, are we equals?

Imagine for a moment that women turned the tables on men and women started getting paid more than men for the same job. How long do you think that would last? I think not long. And imagine one out of every four men were beaten up by their female partners and two men each week were killed by their female partners. How long do you think that would go on? I’d guess not long. Don’t blink. And yet here we are in a world where women are not safe walking the streets of their neighbourhoods and often not safe in their own homes. So, how long do you think that will last?

I know guilt is a horrible thing, but at least it would be a start.

Copyright © 2012 Dale Rominger

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