I got a text from a friend today congratulating me, and asking whether I feel equal. My answer: “Thanks. That depends. Mostly, I feel superior.”
And then we launched into a discussion that eventually brought me here.
Soooo… Congratulations on the International women’s day, everybody. This is the day we celebrate that women and men are equals and treated as such. Only, we’re not.
This day, more than any other, is a reminder that women and men aren’t treated as equals in the field of employment, education and everything. Thing is, while we have the right to vote, and there’s even a women’s quota on boards. We have the opportunity to apply for whatever job we’d like, regardless of gender, unless of course, there’s good reason. I mean, you wouldn’t want a man helping you fit your bra, but if you have children, there’s no reason why a man shouldn’t be just as able as a woman to care for it in nurseries and schools.
But the fact that there are certain professions, often within care, that are considered to be feminine professions, and also the fact that there’s a need for a women’s quota on boards tells me that we haven’t really come that far at all.
As I’m currently doing a lot of reading on Northern Ireland and The Troubles, I made a comparison between women and Catholics in Northern Ireland during th 1960s. And it actually made sense. (And did you notice how very cleverly I’ve incorporated a mention of The Troubles into this whole shenanigan?) Anywho… Thing is Catholics made up the majority of unemployed people in the area during the 1960s (and before that as well, but that’s irrelevant). Prejudice, cutbacks, employment by word of mouth, by relations and friends, and of course the people in charge being who and what they were… It all favoured Protestants, whereas Catholics were the first to be let go, if ever they had the job at all. There were hardly a Catholic in a prominent position during these years. If you’re going to base an assignment on my blog or start a discussion of pre-Troubles politics, please don’t. I’m trying to keep things simplified and brief here, and the situation was a bit more complicated than what I’m letting on.
Where was I? Oh, that’s right. If not for the quota system, there is a fairly good chance of there being fewer women in employment and even fewer in boards, for a lot of the same reasons Catholics were discriminated over. On a base level, of course. So that’s a good thing. It’s a step up the ladder. We’ve got women on boards, and in employment, so what’s her problem? you might ask.
Well, I’d hate being passed over because I’m a woman, but if I were a man I’d hate being passed over because there’s a quota that disqualifies me, regardless of my qualifications. And in an ideal world that’s what would be important. Not a persons gender, but skill and knowledge. Qualified people in the positions they are qualified for because they’re qualified.
Come to think of it, I’ve had this discussion with another friend of mine after my indignation that she had to legitimize her use of the word feminist in a post she wrote. And it really is a pity that feminism and feminist has fallen under the stereotype of a type of women who refuses to shave their legs or armpits, burns bras (claiming they’re just another way to confine women, when we should be mad at the people declining to offer bras that actually fits, because then it gets comfortable), doesn’t wear makeup and even claim that she can’t imagine being in an equal relationship with a man, as she would always be his superior.
That’s not feminism, that’s their own business.
I’ll just go ahead and admit it: men and women are different. And that’s what this day should be a celebration of. I mean, in an ideal world. We are different, but in an ideal world we’d have equal possibilities and opportunities. Regardless of weather we’re making use of them wearing stilettos, sneakers, wellies, marching boots, long hair, short hair, dress or pants, a ton of makeup or none and everything inbetween.
And that, my dearies, is a lot of blather on what it’s all about. And I’ll stop now, or else I’ll go on to complain about companies preferring to employ mothers in their 30s, passing over unestablished women in their 20s, and of course the flying donkeys, though that might be something I’d want to see. I’m not sure yet.