With International Women’s Day almost upon us, pink is getting its fair share of notice. No doubt cities all over the world are getting ready to put symbols of women’s empowerment on display. But once March 8 has passed, we ladies can expect to crawl back behind whichever rock we came from.
My statements might anger feminists and those fighting for the cause, but the truth is that little has been done, or changed, where it matters most.
Gender bias and domestic abuse continue to be the top issues women face, even today. With all the education and awareness, we have only scratched the surface of these deep-rooted problems.
The feminist-friendly 2018 Liberal budget appears to address (or acknowledge at the very least) gender bias in the workplace with promised legislation for ‘federal’ pay equity. Let’s hope that this move is not aimed purely at increasing their female voter base.
The fact that legislation is required speaks volumes for the progress Western society has made in this regard.
With the rest of the world typically expecting the progressive West to set the wheels of change in motion, one might assume that gender equity in developing countries might be a long time coming. Yet the so-called ‘third world’ seems to struggle less with putting women at the helm (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for example), than we do. There are many who believe that the ‘white boys club’ was a critical factor in Hillary Clinton’s defeat.
Misogyny manifests itself in daily life in many ways. A friend recently shared her experience at a car dealership. The service manager brushed aside her repeated complaints of engine trouble for months, till her husband decided to take up the matter. The response changed instantly.
Big box, home improvement stores are another place, where women can expect this attitude. I’ve dealt with it more than once. Most recently when attempting to purchase a focus light for the exterior of my home. The salesman was irritated with my questions and all but said I should have my husband come in and solve the problem. I could see the disbelief on his face when I informed him that my ‘significant’ other knew less than me.
The ratio of male to female students in science, engineering and technology programs exemplify that stereotypes are not changing any time soon. In many cases friends have admitted passing on their biases and fears to their children.
So much for gender equality!
Yes, there are women who have broken the mould and families that believe girls are invincible. But a closer look might reveal that it is the circumstances that make all the difference. Those with daughters (and no sons) are forced to be more progressive in their thinking. And even the most liberal-minded exhibit some bias when there are kids of both sexes. Whether it is expecting their sons to do the heavy lifting or encouraging their daughters to advance their homemaker skills.
Domestic abuse is, without a doubt, where women have made the least progress. According to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, approximately every six days, a woman is killed by her intimate partner in our country. This is not a problem that is predominantly South Asian or third world as we like to believe. Studies show that fear of repercussions and societal disapproval prevents abused women from coming forward. It is not uncommon for family and friends to expect the partners to resolve the problem themselves rather than provide any kind of intervention or support.
Sexual harassment is a whole other issue that invades every workplace. The #Me Too and #Time’s Up movements highlight the magnitude of the problem that crosses race, class, community and ability.
With the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away, there is no place for ignorance, apathy or complacency.
While many men need a reality check with regard to the capabilities of women, it us ladies who need to step up our support for one another. That means steering clear of the gossip and really sticking up for each other.
It’s time we acknowledge our responsibility! – CINEWS