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activism, Events, Women

GENDER (in)EQUALITY 101

source: GENDER (in)EQUALITY 101.

Today, on International Women’s Day, I read this article which actually made some points that poked my brain more than any other women’s rights article or quote ever has. Here is an excerpt for your enjoyment:

“In a small village near Xuan Thuy National Park in Vietnam, Pham Thi Kim Phuong starts her day at 4 a.m., preparing food for the family and for the cattle. Before the sun rises, she bikes seven kilometers to the mudflats by the park’s mangroves. There, she joins hundreds of other women who take advantage of the early morning low tide to manually gather clams and snails for food for their families and for selling.

Like most of the women in her village, she cannot get a job away from her home or village, and must stay at home to look after the children and livestock. From her perspective, going to the mudflats is one of the few options she has to help secure food and extra household income. But her trips also hold value of a very different kind — her experience gathering clams here has given Pham important insights about the mudflats and the surrounding mangroves which will prove invaluable in securing a future for her children and for her community.

The mudflats where Pham works are part of a protected area. Since 2013, an initiative to strengthen park management has engaged local women in co-management of the mangrove forests. Enlisting active community participation in caring for important ecological areas is one of the more effective strategies in protected area management. With the participation of the women, healthy mangrove forests are translating to better resilience for coastal communities.”

Until reading this article, which goes more in depth regarding the special knowledge and contributions of women worldwide, I never fully understood the unique perspective that women in the world acquire as a result of the natural demands of childrearing, monthly periods, and social networking.

The way women (and feminine minded people) traditionally think and act in the family could actually transform the world: Because they tend to stay/work closer to home, and know what foods are good to eat and feed their kids—and how to improvise when food is scarce, and because they don’t stay long periods away from kids and rely on extended family/friends more often, women can actually sustainably shape the structure of villages and cities. They keep families in touch, and closer watch over local community resources (such as food, medicine, and education), and are thus more in tune with local changes in environmental and psychological wellbeing.

Men (and masculine minded people) are similar to male bears- they are able to travel and work farther from home, and stay away from family for longer periods, and they don’t need to be near to the house to get food and resources. They also don’t need to rely as much on community or be intuitively in touch with local patterns in nature. Instead men tend to be more in tune with macro-patterns in nature, geography, and trade. They can spot where the herds are, where another stream is located, and have more knowledge about neighbors, such as who lives on the other side of the mountains, and where trading opportunities are. Because they are able to be more solitary they also can spend longer uninterrupted periods studying and observing things like animals and stars (which could lead to discoveries in medicine, insight, mapping, etc).

So…what kind of world do you imagine we have? It is a world clearly built upon the strengths and needs of men. Most things like jobs, cities, travel, food and education are structured around how men traditionally can do things.

But what if society were structured more around how women can do things? I would imagine the local hygiene and aesthetic would be very important because women stay closer to home for longer periods, so the environment would be cleaner and cities would be less densely populated. Childcare, education, work and food would also be near to home and there would be less treck & travel for daily needs, and thus fewer roads. Education and medical institutions wouldn’t be located in metropolitan areas but would be more spread out and accessible in rural and small towns. Families would not migrate as often and stay closer together, and there would be more support available for special needs, disabilities, and illnesses.

Many of our climate, food, education, population, poverty and colonisation problems would go away if women had greater role in shaping our societies.

Now consider how women’s rights are portrayed: Women actually ask to be treated like men.

Think about it.

As demonstrated above, lets agree women (and feminine minded people) have a crucial and beneficial role already, so what is wrong with being treated like a woman? Why must a woman prove she is just like a man to be equal?

The problem is not that women do not have enough roles, it’s that the roles women do have are not understood, protected, supported, or cared about. The role of the woman has become defined almost entirely “in the context” of men; in other words, to see a woman’s value or contribution we defer to what the men do in their community. Well, in many societies we can say one of the original contributions of men has been to support the ROLES of women (which is, in other words, women’s empowerment as they define their own roles). But nowadays that manly responsibility has been corrupted, and it is watered down to become support of the BODIES women (which is, in other words, women’s dependency).

To repeat that incase you missed it: Men used to support the ROLES of women (which women defined themselves, giving them an elevated and important status in society); but now men usually only support the BODIES of women (which are subject to men’s scrutiny and denigrate women to the status of a dependent).

On the other side of the coin, one of the original contributions of women has been to support the roles of men (this exchange of support is truly egalitarian, albeit not homogenous). Nowadays, a woman’s contribution has been corrupted to become an obligation or expectation, and thus there is zero gratitude or exchange for it.

I honestly never **fully** realised this subtly embedded inequality until today.

Us men (and masculine minded peeps) have a responsibility to support women- women simply cannot have equal rights or protection without us, because our responsibility is to support them- as they have kindly done for us all this time. Men need to be more grateful for how much women contribute to society and understand that they have insights which are unique to solving some of society’s most dangerous problems. We need women to be women, not men. We need their knowledge, experience, and perspective. But ladies (and female minded peeps), please be aware that your support of men is contributing quite a bit to male achievements, not just the good, but also the bad. So for you, you have a responsibility to discern between what actions you support in the men in your community. You have the power to stand up to that, and men have the power to listen.

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