Gender Equality, Or: We need more girls in science, damnit

by hulk

Izzat recently said something about some UN sicko going around Africa taking pictures of himself raping women. He even labeled the pictures as rape. Then she said something to make the article humorous, that she thought the UN was one of the last bastions of democracy and humanity. HA! After laughing my ass off, I remembered what the article was about. UN sicko. She said something to the effect that there needs to be equality between men and women. That struck me. She said she was waiting for it. When will it happen? Better question: Can it happen?

Exactly at what point are men and women “equal”? Under the law, they’re equal. In fact, there’s a slight bias in the courts when it comes to custody and marriage law, at least in the US. In the rest of the world, they negotiate from a slightly weaker stance, especially so in developing nations. Yeah, the US is pretty much where they have it best. And despite some misstatements (“women only make 79 cents where men make a dollar”) and outright lies (“hundreds of thousands of women die each year from anorexia”) I’d say they’re treated equally in the US. There are issues such as pornography and sexism but I think the sexist tide is starting to turn. Pornography’s not going away anytime soon. We need to be careful about playing the victim game here, but you could make legitimate arguments about the general sexual predatory nature of men and how that can make women uncomfortable or end up with them being harassed (“Hey baby, nice rack!”). Of course I’d argue the sex drive thing is programmed in. And women definitely have it too. Sex just doesn’t sell as much for them, so there’s less advertising. Their ads are more like, “Do you have heavy flow?” whereas male ads are “Buy this, and hot blondes will sleep with you!

So where is the inequality? If it’s here, is it that big of a problem, or is the problem mostly advertising and the porn industry? The rest of the world gets much worse, especially in the Arab nations. Except there it’s not viewed so much as an equality issue as a women-do-this-thing, men-do-that-thing system. Much like we were, before the modern era. I asked some liberal female friends of mine, which do they choose first, liberalism or feminism, when the two conflict? Should we try to stop female genital mutilation in Africa? Or is that their “culture” and we have to respect that? I’d argue that that’s a pretty crappy culture, and there’s no reason to adopt a culture just because the elder generation does. We have a culture in America, and people rail against it all the time. Yet apparently in other countries that culture is like a law applying to everyone there, because both of these liberal female friends of mine said you can’t try to do anything there because you’d just be oppressing these people and their wonderful culture. Isn’t multiculturalism great? That’s a debate for another time.

Back to my main question: When will men and women be considered equal? Is it laws? Is it the jobs they do? Is it when women no longer have to bear children and we just clone them in tubes? Men will always be physically stronger than women, so what do they do about that? Give all women guns? Is it the things they do outside of work, such as when a woman will watch soaps and knit while a man usually watches football and cleans the gutters. Do we need a switch? A 50/50 split, these men knit while those clean gutters? Is it the fields they pursue? We need more women in science, desperately. Some bleepity bleep from Harvard said a couple weeks ago that women’s brains don’t allow them to do science as well as men. There have been some studies on gender intelligence showing that there’s a difference in IQ distribution between women and men, but that still doesn’t leave them out. So more parents need to be talking to their little girls about science instead of flowers, if you ask me. But then you still have girls making a conscious choice to stay away from science when they get older. Why? Is it Hilary Duff, and her example? Or something more pressing?

When could the genders ever be considered “equal”?