The most important piece in the gender equality puzzle?

Posted by on Apr 12, 2012 in Gender equality | 0 comments

Userpage icon for supporting gender equality.

Userpage icon for supporting gender equality. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today I went to a panel on the Status of Women and Girls around the World. Experts Judith Morisson, Judithe Registre and Merle Lefkoff spoke at the 64th Conference of World Affairs (CWA) in Boulder.

All three panelists agreed that women”s rights have taken a huge step forward over the last 15 years  on a global level. Of course a large number of inequities still persist.

Eventually the conversation touched on the role of men in this conversation. Men”s privileges or the loss of them come into play as soon we talk about women gaining more power. All three women acknowledged that their influence over men in the debate is limited. They believe the best approach in getting their points across in the male world is too look for male allies. Men that understand the benefits of woman having equal rights and power in a modern society can become key influencers in the debate.

Studies have shown that more gender equality leads to more political and economic stability. Women in business are believed to add a unique perspective and act more ethical. We as men might look at this as destabilizing or unsettling but isn”t that often what we look for in the first place when we add more members to our team. Isn’t an organization stronger that is being challenged from within versus being surprised by an attack from the outside?

My key argument with young men has always been the fact that girls and women that have not been exposed to sexual violence will make for a an emotional healthier, less afraid, more stable and just overall happier partner which in return makes their life more fun as well.

I believe that if these two arguments were more refined and better substantiated by more studies we might substantially add to a movement where more men are more outspoken about female empowerment and understand that it doesn”t take away from but actually adds to their lives.

Judithe Registre further casino online/a> manifested the role of men with female empowerment with some examples from Africa where women had been raped and turned into outlaws of society. Their only hope to be accepted in the community again would be someone talking to their male tribe or religious leaders and have them talk to their husbands that had abandoned them. Her organization Women for Women actually has a male leadership program in place that addresses chiefs of communities in order to change women”s status.

Bottom line: Men have a much bigger role in this debate than many of us realize or want to acknowledge.

We usually say “a women has been raped every x minutes in xyz country” not “a man has raped a women every x minutes in xyz country”. It is only a small change in wording but it makes a much clearer statement about the actual aggressor. Changing our language is a small thing to do but it does have an impact because we help to shift the focus of the debate every time we mention the aggressor and not the victim. This is only a baby step but it is actually something every man can do starting today. I”m obviously in. Who”s next?

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