All of us must do our part if we ever hope to have a society of equals. Gender equality is an issue of humanity just as much as peaceful resolution to conflict globally. Is it really that difficult to be inclusive and just? Is there any rational or logical justification for the subjugation of any group of people? Is it that hard, ultimately, to not be a turd?
Maybe we should just wear t-shirts saying, “Don’t be a turd.”
In the New York Times article,
“How Society Pays When Women’s Work Is Unpaid“, Melissa Gates is quoted as saying:
“We need to call work what it is — work — whether you do it at home or whether you do it out in the labor force, and then give men and women options to choose what they want to do.”
The focus of the article, much like the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, is gender parity. Equal pay for equal work, laudible goal but disappointing that credibility to the cause of gender equality is reduced to a battle over a paycheck and parental leave time. Yet with most societal change it does seem to come back to money as the measurement of power and freedom. To me it comes down to kindness and making the world a kinder one, for all of us, by not being a turd.
I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.” Malala Yousafzai
In my eyes, the underlying issue to gender parity is valuing the work of women as individuals. The role of “mother” or “caretaker”, these roles deserve respect as much as the individuals doing them but they are individuals in their own right and that shouldn’t change the value, monetarily or intrinsically, of their work. The moment the moniker of either role is attached to the work it is devalued because of its association with women which says more about our world than I care to believe. It’s no different than the struggle women face every day with being respected for their contribution at home or in the “workplace”.
Whether you are paid or not, work is work. Much as the mistreatment, abuse, and the devaluing of anyone is shameful. But don’t ask me, just think back to the rules of the schoolyard and the wisdom of preschool. “Be kind with our words. Be kind with your hands. Be kind in your heart.”
But I like the succinctness of the reminder on my screen saver,
“Don’t be a turd.”