Why Is Gender Parity Missing?   

‘Why are we at a snail's pace in achieving equality among genders?’

Why Is Gender Parity Missing?   

The debate on gender parity is prolonged. It's been started in history and is still practiced and part of our discussion at conferences, seminars, processions, and even in our educational institutes. We are all victims of society; some just suffer more than others. But the question is why we are at a snail's pace in achieving equality among genders.

Gender inequality may have arisen as a result of cultural practices rather than biological factors. Culture shapes dominance. Even culture established our roles not as human beings but rather based on sexes. We are all stooges of our societal norms. Many enlightened authorities, when asked to converse about gender equality, come to us with their long-established arguments: "Men and women are not equal; men are the head, which means that men are superior and women are inferior. Our perspective is shaped by our cultural norms and values.

In the patriarchal system, men have been claiming for centuries that women are inferior to them. Throughout history, some men wanted women to be submissive. They play the nature card, and women accept it the way it is. Through the centuries, women went through deprivation, repression, and malnutrition. Women were the most victimized gender. At some point, a certain number of people used to believe that women were inferior to men. Women were made for childbearing and should be confined to household activities. Beside physical deprivation, there was also intellectual probation, in which women were not allowed to learn how to read and write. Women were kept away from school. Their contribution was narrowed to childbearing and households for centuries. In the Victorian era, women novelists used to use their male pen names just to publish their novels because women were not allowed to publish their books under their own girlish names.

The truth is that men just love to keep their power, so they invent these convenient dichotomies. There's nothing natural about it. This is all a man-constructed dichotomy, which we have been fed through the centuries.

In the present time, we are entering the postmodern era, but our culture, values, and criteria are still deeply rooted in former convenient dichotomies. Women are given liberation, but somehow the chain around their ankles is no longer than the threshold. If women are allowed to work in the field, they're also seen in the kitchen to cook food for the family. If women are allowed to go outside the house, there must be a man with her for her safety, or it's too immature and feeble to safeguard. If women are liberated for education, there's a detained profession for them to be in. Women were and are continuously reminded of their inferiority simply by being women.

Moreover, women suffer from this oppressive system of injustice. Not all women suffer equally because they are treated on the basis of class, color, and status. The system of oppression is hierarchical; the higher you are on the ladder, the more privilege you enjoy. A white European female can see higher on the ladder, whereas a black woman can only look on the ladder and stand on the ground. Gender inequality works similarly. Women have been treated as inferiors throughout history.

Despite centuries of oppression and deprivation, women are struggling to catch up and shine in men's world. The world is equal for all genders. The thing is that women just need a world to grab the stage and do the things men do. Women don't need a men's world; they need a place of justice and equality where they can enjoy privileges equal to men's. Where women can be treated and honored without any prejudice, discrimination, or inclinations.

Women are not here to fight for equality but to claim that they are born equal and should be considered, treated, honoured, and served equal to men. Equality will never happen unless we all believe that we are equal. Equality is an attitude. We can embrace equality and justice if we embrace God's culture. A culture where there's no injustice and all human beings are born equal; there are no privileges, no bigotry, and no caste system. Human beings belong to all ethnicities; hues, castes, positions, and genders are identical. A place where all suffer less. We have to create the world by pursuing God's culture. It could happen only if the person believed in God and himself and was determined not to mistreat either a man or a woman on any basis but rather to create a climate of respect and peace.

The writer is a lecturer.