Sunday, 4 September 2016

Pitfalls of Feminism and Gender Equality

Post Updated On: 3rd December 2016

Introduction

Is feminism still a force for good? Is gender equality a myth? And is there something wrong with today's societies for not backing such a seemingly egalitarian cause with open arms?


In this piece, I define the most common type of feminism.  I look at the kinds of social disadvantages and inconsistencies that it brings, while also exploring the political dangers that it introduces. I will take aim and attempt to unravel the notion of equality between the sexes, showing why such a simple egalitarian idea can face so much resistance in society.


I will often use the terms "feminism", "gender equality", and "equality of the sexes" interchangeably under the assumption that they are the primary and most prevalent tenets of feminism.


One of the motivations for me to write this piece was because of conversations I've had over the years with people who self-identify as feminist. ALWAYS and without exception, conversations of this social issue carries with it the expectation that the "genders are equal" be the starting point of the discussion. That if you do not share this view, then, at best, a proper discussion may not be had or, at worst, there's an implied but unspoken risk of social exclusion. Case in point, Anne-Marie Slaughter's article and the aftermath, referenced further down (which we know about, by the way, thanks to the Clinton email leaks).


Feminism has toxic elements not so much against men, but more so against women themselves. One of my goals is to air a loud voice that can stand on its own and reject partisan thinking.



Terminology & Definition

There are many forms of feminism and they sometimes happen to be in conflict with one another. Normally it is hard to unite a lot of the branches of feminism under a single banner, as there is no single definition fitting the whole spectrum. But one principle which most feminist groups can unite behind is the idea of equality of the sexes.


Throughout this piece, wherever you may see mention of feminism, always remember that it refers to versions of feminism which only agree with the following definition.


Definition: In an entirely equal, free, non-communist, non-autocratic society where every member is a self-identifying feminist; the genders would indefinitely remain  _________  equal:
a) 'socially'
b) 'politically'
c) 'economically'
d) or any or all combinations


Put differently, it is feminism which believes in the social, economic and political equality of the sexes. Believing that the world isn't currently this way happens to be a problem that can be corrected legislatively.


Rare forms of feminism with ideas that fall outside the scope of the above definition are not addressed in this piece and are exempt from all arguments in this essay. Some of these rare forms of feminism may be entirely self-consistent and as a result, beneficial.



It is an ideology

The belief that the genders should be equal is a proposition that would have a dramatic impact on societies everywhere. Because should the proposition be true, then similar questions like "what else is equal in the universe" would proliferate in every corner of society and in every profession. In other words, accepting such an idea would not be a small inconsequential matter but rather a tectonic shift similar to going from a system of presumed guilt to one where guilt must be proven.


When anyone makes an affirmative statement, a claim, or just proposes an idea, then they should be prepared to provide evidence for it, should they be asked to provide one. And the stronger the evidence supporting the idea, the stronger and more factual the idea becomes, thus relying less on ideological devices.


Ideological arguments by their very nature tolerate cognitive or logical dissonance. Take the following as an example: A group of motivated people may be attached to or just really, really like the number 42. To them that number is special and the definitive end result to their cause. A flawed device. Notice how as the solution precedes the problem?


Similarly, Feminism in general as prima facie adopts the ideological and sacrosanct view that all people are equal regardless of gender. By starting with the conclusive proposition that “we are equal,” proponents bypasses the need for a proper investigation.


By using such a questionable starting point, feminism forfeits many of its claims of holding the moral high ground over other less righteous groups who use the same flawed device of “Let’s pick the final, ideologically tainted solution now, and we’ll figure out how to define the problem afterwards.”


A racist group, for example, may use the flawed “conclusive-ideological-solution-precedes-clearly-defined-problem” device as a mechanism to hate on people from a different race. By being unencumbered by reason, they may start with the conclusion: “my race is superior” and using that to define the problem in an ever-shifting manner, in whatever convoluted way that is convenient for them to show that their race is ‘in fact’ superior. Occam's razor be damned.


If at this point you’re thinking “But feminism isn't at all comparable to any kind of “-ism” and certainly not to racism because it’s a just social cause and egalitarian in nature” then you’d be right. Feminism has in the past served an important good, which is why it is in no way comparable to other less savoury groups. Feminism has a valid cause, and there’s no arguing that discrimination based on gender rather than a cocktail of factors that include ability, qualification, motivation etcetera, hurts everyone. And the further back in time we go the bigger the problem was, that’s obvious. I cannot judge feminists of the past (1st and 2nd wave and further back) for fighting the difficult fight using whatever limited way they could to reverse the bias. These women and men who supported them were fighting to improve not just the lives of women but the worn and torn fabric of our societies. Unhappy families glued together with no financial independence for women to protest or divorce, and men on the other hand seen as too cruel for abandoning their financially dependent wives. Losing and failure were not an option, but now they are, and that’s for the greater good.

However, there was a time when expectations of “equality” were yielding handsome dividends (for example Universal Suffrage across the globe or Title IX in the US in 1972) particularly due to the terrifying size and the institutionalised nature of the problem; today, on the other hand, we face a different reality altogether. The trend is for more women to be graduating than men; for more men to be in STEM fields than women; and the term ‘double income households’ ending up not meaning what people in the fifties imagined it would mean. It is in this new climate of social realities that the international lawyer and foreign policy analyst, Anne-Marie Slaughter, wrote, what turned out to be a seminal and VERY controversial essay titled “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” That article, which is around an hour's long read, blew me away when it was written back in 2012! Perhaps a tad hyperbolic to say but that piece may have caused a civil war between factions of the feminist movement in the US.


Times have changed, and progress is no longer as bountiful as it once was. Now with threats of a rollback of women's rights constantly looming amid a rise in populist sentiment across the North Atlantic region. Men and women who still support the ideology of gender equality today need to be aware of the risk of reliance on a flawed device as their foundation. Subscribers to the ideology may inadvertently be weakening the legitimacy of their cause. Meanwhile, there’s no guarantee that the medicine that worked well before will continue to work well forever. So although the feminist ideal of the genders as equal may sound noble in theory, in reality, it isn't, and it isn't for two reasons:

Reason 1: This one is rather short and straightforward. The figure below – like a volume slider – shows that ideology and academia have an negative correlation.



The stronger a person’s ideological conviction is, the less open their ideals to new facts, elucidating evidence or conclusive research will be. While on the other end if you’re an academic, then you’re always open to compelling new evidence. Another way of looking at it (figure below) is that an evidence-driven academic will expend more energy due to required diligence while an ideologue will rely more on sloppy go-to dogma.




Summarising Reason 1: Even if the claim that the genders are equal is true, any final and unchanging claim of “male and female equality” is by definition ideological dogma. Moreover, ideological dogma is negatively correlated and directly at odds with academic diligence.


Reason 2: The other reason - why the ideology that “genders are equal” is not only not benign but may, in fact, be deleterious to the cause - is explained below. And it deals with the mentality of “So what if the genders are not equal, it is still better for our society to assume that they are.”


Imagine that you’re an ambitious young person wanting to achieve success, to rise through the ranks and to reach the highest echelons of the career of your choice, and you are willing to pay whatever the price for achieving greatness. Things like dedication, commitment, perseverance, and making painful sacrifices to personal life; all of which are virtuous traits that every civilisation feeds of off and thrives on. From arts to sciences and everything in-between: Washington, Newton, Mary-Claire King, Shakespeare, Herant Dink, Anna Politkovskaya, Mozart and so on. These people are the most elite of all. Granted, we can’t all be like them - people whose great achievements are only matched by the great glow they cast for generations over our societies.


Inspired by the achievements of these great people and brimming with ambition yourself, you decide to go into law and have your shot at the stars in that field. What you don’t realise and as it turns out, is that everyone but you is secretly doping. Without knowledge of or access to their performance-enhancing drugs, you’re relegated to a regular human sleep pattern, your alertness level being just similar to that of an average person, and your ability to focus leaving nothing to write home about. You’re left disadvantaged while expectations remain the same. Suddenly it's exam day, and you get a cool 95%. Turns out you rank fifth in your class despite paying the price for being the top student. With your objective unaccomplished, you dig deep into your youthful cache of energy and take it on the chin, you persevere and recommit yourself to come back stronger next year and try harder…


Before long, four years pass at substantial personal cost and with a few grey hairs to boot. But with the whole class continuing to dope in secret, the gap widens over time. The truth is, your objective of being top of your class never even stood a chance against your Kommilitone (‘fellow students’ in German).


The point here is that in any walk of life and in any field, be it sports or in the example of law above; cheating or having an unfair advantage is a bane to society. It is cruel to be denied the credit and recognition after years of sacrifice in the life that we have.


In a somewhat similar light, when the ideological assumption is made that the ‘genders are equal’ when they’re not, it opens a new front to an already uneven playing field where naturally capable people can do well on a subject, while others need to overcome their natural shortcomings just to achieve parity. Sure, the result could be similar, but what you can't tell is the amount of effort exerted and the number of personal sacrifices made to get the same achievement; something which in this case at least, reveals a whole lot more than the actual test score itself.


To assume as part of an ideology that women have no natural advantages* over men in some areas and vice versa is reckless, irresponsible and simply false. With one fell ideological swoop, we cast aside predispositions, affinities, and temperaments. * Natural advantages, in this example, unrelated to dimorphism of the brain.

Summarising Reason 2: It is worse for society to assume equality because shallow, ideologically motivated view of equality itself creates inequality through the reinforcement of an uneven playing field. It gives way to misplaced expectations, and it stifles transparency, which in turn makes credit attribution difficult. None of these things being ideals to strive for, nor egalitarian in nature.


Note: The point about the test score not being revealing enough manifests itself more academically in this 1994, 30 page report by Ruth B. Ekstrom, where a conceptual model on page 4 tries, in the most exhaustive fashion, to highlight the different variables which may affect grades. In the conclusion, she says “The conceptual model that was developed explained about 40 percent of the variance in these grades”. Which basically means that the data behind the test scores is a lot more revealing than the test scores by themselves.



Wishing Good

Paying only lip service to egalitarianism is not egalitarian. It is important to understand that having good intentions does not automatically make something good or altruistic. For instance releasing a space adventure videogame in the hopes of inspiring, bringing joy and encouraging more people to take up STEM fields, does not justify lying to your customers, setting a post-release review embargo, and charging an obscene €60 for it.


Alternatively, distributing mosquito nets to reduce malaria when instead people end up using the nets to catch fish, leading to poisoning of the lake subsequently causing an ecological disaster for the very people you intended to save. It might not have been your direct fault, but you better damn make sure you help clean the mess up, unintended consequences or not.


No doubt feminism and many feminists today, both female and male, have good intentions. Throughout most of history, females were for one reason or another relegated to, encouraged or just wink, wink, nudge nudged towards more passive roles in society and away from leadership roles. While some women may never have had an issue of a life of childbearing and housewifery, but rather the issue is that women were marginalised, treated as a single monolithic group, and expected to serve the needs of the family. For millennia, society's expectation on women must've been just crushing. So understandably, feminist intentions to eliminate any form of institutional discrimination is not only good but something I strongly advocate myself. However, facing today's realities, dogmatic and coarse good intentions can cause unintended harm. People who only harbour or worse, proselytise “gender equality” should be aware of the possibility that they may inadvertently be hindering much-needed progress on reducing gender discrimination. Yes, your unbridled ‘feel good’ intentions may be harming your cause!


How? Amongst other things, by attracting unwanted attention from groups with opposing ideologies and possibly drawing valid political and even academic resistance; much in common to the mechanism of how resistance in most conductors increases with rising heat, reducing efficiency. Fighting gender discrimination in all its forms is a valid cause and as such doesn't require gimmicks to sell on its valid points. And that is why I suspect that turning to the ideologically charged narrative of "we're all equal" as a strategy might, rather ironically, better serve the interests of hardline conservatives over that of feminists or egalitarian people. Good intentions are not even half the battle.



Dispelling Equality

Earlier in this piece, I liberally and without much regard to academic rigour bounced around the notion (“…questionable starting point”) that males and females are not equal, in a very matter-of-factly kind of way. Any lecturer, professor or just a reasonable person was probably rolling their eyes over the perceived careless nature of my assertion in such an authoritative manner.


And I understand. Just because the equality ideal may sprout from an innocent sense of wanting goodness & justice, doesn't mean that it can’t be right by pure chance or coincidence. As a result of that, therefore, I shouldn't be so reckless and certainly not too sure of myself. So where is my evidence to back up my claim that the genders aren't equal? And so it’s time to shine the spotlight at this “feel good” ideal.


There's no better place to begin than the burden proof argument. So grab an empty bucket and after you’re done filling it with a 1kg of flour, turn it upside down on a flat bench. Sorry for the mess. Okay, grab a dough scraper and try to draw a line through the heap of powder with the objective of splitting it perfectly into two equal portions. Do you fancy your chances that you've split the portions exactly... down to the milligramme?


Let's not go on faith here, so weigh them. Sure, with enough practice, you’ll get good, maybe really good at this. Maybe even splitting it to within less than one percent after many tries. And if you were wondering, no, gender equality isn't like this, but bear with me. You’ll see where I’m going with this in a minute. Remember, we're still on the burden of proof thing.


So I want to separate the question: “Are men and women equal?” into 3 broad categories. “Facts” that we know for sure. “Abstract” concepts which we cannot scientifically prove. And “ambiguous” things which are so hard to tell with any kind of certainty that we can safely say we don’t know.


Fact: From a physical point of view, males have a higher oxygen intake while females eke out an advantage with the way their body stores and uses fat. Simple. And of these types of facts, we know plenty. I’m not going to cite them as this isn't that kind of piece.

- Result: Which gender is generally better at oxygen intake? Males.
- Result: Which gender is generally better at storing and burning fat? Females.


Abstract: Then there are more abstract things like the value of life and matters of worth. For example, if survival of the species is a factor, then the lives of females are more valuable; or at least that men are more disposable on account of the bottleneck to reproduction being females. But that’s a bit far out since as a species we’re more than just surviving, we’re doing pretty well by certain measures. But anyway here's another example, there are two children aged 5. Life expectancy for males in that region is 70 and 87 for females. Now imagine one of the children, the boy, suddenly dies, robbing him of, on average, 65 years of life. But if the girl were the one to die instead then she would've been robbed, on average, of 82 years of life. The question here is, do the number of years lived matter?


But that’s still a tough call so let’s take a look from religion's point of view (because why not)? There we see that men were created first and women came from the rib of the guy, or something like that; so make of that what you will. And finally, there are 118 boys to every 100 girls born in China. The country with the biggest gender disparity problem on Earth.

 - Result: Which gender is more valuable from the species survival point of view? Females but only slightly.
- Result: Which gender’s life is more important in respect to years of life? Females but only marginally.
- Result: Which gender is at the moment valued more and aborted the least in China? Males by a significant margin.
- Result: Which gender is valued more in Abrahamic religions? Possible preference for males.


Ambiguous: Which gender is naturally or just better suited to make for better Supreme Court judges? How about presidents or astronauts? Which gender is better suited to be the Starfleet captain of a Starship (Star Trek)? Or simply the better parent? Well at least on that last one, I think I’d make a way better dad than most women would make mothers. I’m going to go ahead and with certain bias declare that men are better parents than women. Sorry. But seriously now, in all of these cases, there are no clear-cut answers, only conjectures.

- Result: N/A


So let’s recap on what it would take to make the statement that the genders are equal to be valid. Imagine that every fact or statistic we could identify were a different sized pile of flour split two ways. Some splits - like which gender is, in general, better suited to be a Supreme Court Judge - may be 50/50 while others may even be up to 60/40 going either way. There are many, many piles. The more numerous the pile (variables), the more accurate the result. For some of these piles you can look at and see the exact distribution of the split (facts), for some piles you can see that the split is tinged one way but you can’t tell the exact percentages (abstract), and for other piles, well, they’re out of site and with no way of knowing (ambiguous).


To espouse 'gender equality' in any manner of authority, you’d need to gather a huge amount of flour in a massive pile representing all the ambiguous things that we don’t know the answers to. The objective then, and this is important, is NOT to split this ‘ambiguous’ bigger pile exactly through the middle but instead to split it in a way that when all other split piles of flour from the ‘facts’ and ‘abstract’ sections are combined and aggregated, they will come to be precisely 50/50. To do that you better work on two skills: 1) your ability to get lucky and 2) your luck.


The reason why I spent such a long time explaining this concept is because it is very, very important to understand that it’s an absurd proposition and an unfalsifiable assertion, and depending on how one looks at it, the opposite is almost certainly true. That men and women as groups are by no metric whatsoever exactly equal.


What we can safely postulate, however, based on decades of academic body of research on the matter, is that deviation in specialised tests between genders always seems to be less than a few percent in any discipline in almost all instances. It appears that for mental disciplines in Universities, personal factors likely outweigh all other individual factors by a noticeable margin.


That we have to choose between a dishonest but charitable “equality” and a society rife with discrimination and oppression is the very definition of a false dichotomy. A false dichotomy to which many women and men subscribe to; be it actively by staying current with feminist literature or passively through ignorance and excessive rationalisation.



If not Equal then what’s the end goal?

So what do we gain by rejecting the ideology of equality? In, what I would call a well-researched and highly informative feminist book “Playing With the Boys: Why Separate is Not Equal in Sports,” Eileen McDonagh and Laura Pappano talk about how the male brain is 5 or so percent bigger (That’s if I remember correctly. I've left the paperback of the book in Cyprus so I can’t really check right now and the last time I read the book was a few years ago). They go on to explain by citing qualified sources about how that doesn’t matter and that the much more useful metric is the lean body weight to brain mass ratio, on which males and females are much closer. Well in a more recent study that can be found here, S. F. Witelson, H. Beresh and D. L. Kigar suggest “It is well documented that mean brain size (weight or volume) is 9–12% larger in men than in women.”*

*Just as a side note that for some reason the actual weights they cited in their research of 1.278Kg vs 1.373Kg represents just a 7% difference. Sample size in this particular study was 106 brains: 58 women, 42 men and 6 excluded.


So anyway, a few years or so after I read the book, I had a written online debate with an entomologist professor. The crux of his argument as an expert was that in nature, brain size does not at all closely correlate to intelligence. Certainly not in the insect world and he made a compelling all around case as to why not in the animal world either. However, for my part I lobbed a few obstacles at him that proved difficult to overcome, thus leading to a soft consensus. The points I made were:


a) A five or whatever percent average gap in the brain size doesn't mean males have superior intellect. For example imagine that an equally capable woman with a smaller brain does the same job as a man. To make an analogy, consider that two types of cars could travel exactly one thousand KM's on a full tank of fuel. One car gives out heavy carbon dioxide emission while the other is fully electric. Now both do exactly the same job but the efficiency at which they perform the work is different depending on what the criteria is. Proving that woman as a group are equally capable to men as a group would ironically also prove that the female brain works more efficiently using less space, and thus not equal.


b) “Female high school students now outperform male students in most subjects and in particular on verbal test scores. The ratio of male to female college graduates has not only decreased, but reversed itself, and the majority of college graduates are now female.” So asserts the first paragraph of a study on “Explaining the Gender Gap in Math” by Muriel Niederle and Lise Vesterlund. Females are doing better than males in academia. Better is not equal.


c) Although a larger body size to brain ratio across species may not always and predictably translate to higher intelligence (apparently it rarely does), there is no scientific literature that either of us was aware of which would suggest that somehow a non-equal brain size within the same species was an indicator of equal capacity.


Some people resist changes modernising society. People like that have a toolset to resist change. Things like a warped notion of history, some statistics and many factoids on their side. Combating culturally induced gender discrimination that is only crudely held together with a mishmash of facts and conjecture, should not begin with feminists also making a logical fallacy and a false ideological assertion that we’re all equal. The solution to defeating some invalid arguments of conservatives doesn't lie with introducing even more fallacious arguments yourself. When you're right, it's imperative to keep the high ground. And I'd argue that sticking to the equality argument against a cultural dinosaur isn't doing that.  As a side effect of not sticking to the high ground, I've seen feminists become disillusioned by the amount of resistance they face despite championing a good cause, and falling silent when confronted with contrarian ideas. But bad ideas must always be challenged, and the strategy of disengagement is not a successful one.


Getting back to the question at hand: What is the reward for giving up on the brittle 'gender equality' argument and switching to the much superior 'gender discrimination' argument? The reward is that we can isolate factoids like ‘males have bigger brains’ quicker, and shoddily erected opinions can be discredited much more efficiently. The result being that the calculus of engagement would change, making holding toxic, non-tolerant and blanket-discriminatory attitudes a burden to hold, harder to justify and much easier to ridicule. In a world where nothing is swept under the carpet, irrationally sexist ideas have nowhere to take refuge.


Another reward of ditching the ideological angle is that self-identifying 'radical' feminists will not be able to ostracise women who:

- don't make the 'right' career choices.
- don't back the 'right' presidential candidate.
- prefer to prioritise family over a career.


It so turns out that some of the staunchest advocates of equality can be the most viciously judgmental, hence making the act of living up to their standards more like playing a game of whack-a-mole. Like how one moment icon BeyoncĂ© is a feminist hero and the next she’s a terrorist. 



Political Correctivism

Before going to the conclusion, there's one other point I have to make; one that is only loosely connected to the topic. It is about the polarity that feminism shares with another kind of ideology - that of libertarianism. For those who don’t know, libertarianism is the ideology of limited government giving virtually unlimited respect for private capital and personal liberty. This also means having minimal or no taxes, no ‘entitlements’, no or very few limitations on the use of weapons and so on. It is the political embodiment of the concept of ‘survival of the fittest’. At this moment in history, this is a very US-centric ideology which at face value affects me very little here in the EU27 (the number should be a dead giveaway), and still less for those in small countries like in Cyprus.


Whereas feminism can be described as mostly the domain of teenage girls and university level women coming to terms and wrestling with tumultuous societal forces (even improving it for future generations), libertarianism, on the other hand, is the domain of teenage boys and usually lesser educated, well-toned, able-bodied, physically fit men. It just so happens that there is hardly any demographic overlap between the two groups. It is rather peculiar that you'll struggle to find even a single feminist libertarian out in the wild, meanwhile, on the flip side, you won't find many libertarians who are feminist. So it appears to be fairly safe to assert that the feminist girl's clubs are largely incompatible with the libertarian boy's clubs. Yes a bit of a crude generalisation, but besides that, these two ideologies have practically nothing to do with each other. They are in some ways polar opposites.


Unlike feminism, I consider near term libertarianism (say, for the next one thousand years or less) to be a direct danger to the elite democracies of the present day. What with its proponents wishing to radically alter the political and legal order, in the process eroding social and environmental legislation that could leave future generations more divided and facing existential and maybe even insurmountable problems.


And it's not such a wildcard for such a threat to materialise either. Consider that this year (2016), the rather incompetent US presidential candidate Gary Johnson, a libertarian, tallied just over 3% of the vote - three times more than Jill Stein of the Greens. Of course in a first-past-the-post, winner-takes-all election system that doesn’t matter much, but it would be ill advised not to take heed of the dangers of such a grassroots movement always finding new wind in its sails. Especially in light of the Brexit / Trump victories.


Call it a fear of '1984', perhaps it’s just paranoia, or maybe it’s a backlash against our increasingly regulated societies creating a yearning for more brevity and liberty. A situation where anarchy may seem like an appealing option when there's too much order or a.k.a. the grass is always greener on the other side.


In the UK, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is the closest thing to a large and organised Libertarian ideology existing on this side of the pond. It was largely the party responsible for the successful Brexit campaign.


The important point to take away is that unsophisticated macho man politics is powerful and it has influence. What’s more, in the North Atlantic area in 2016, we’re going through a period where there is a strong counter-culture against over-gentrified political correctness.


So what does all of this have to do with the subject of this piece? Well take a look at the following two clubs:


Boys Club Libertarian Ideas:
- Money can buy you women, it can buy you anything
- It is the survival of the fittest
- Completely unrestricted speech
- Very small government
- Minimal laws
- Harsh competition with minimal or no safety nets
- High stakes high rewards

Girls Club Feminist Ideas:
- We’re all equal
- Bigger government, more legislation protecting the vulnerable
- Strong regulation of speech
- Safe spaces in academic circles
- When discussion gets uncomfortable, refuse to engage


Yes, I’ve exaggerated, but only to highlight this remarkable polarity between these two groups. It doesn't take a genius to see which of the two clubs may be more destructive. However, my priorities outside of life and work are to current affairs and foreign policy. And the rise of libertarian-like ideologies hinders EU’s ability to get involved with and resolve conflicts, or reduce disease and combat climate change because these ideas bring instability to the Union.


The danger is that feminist vision of creating a very stable and completely regulated society may in small part contribute to the disenfranchisement of a growing segment of society. A segment of society who have an aversion towards things like a ‘nanny state,' censorship of speech, and their very nature - of being loud, brash and politically incorrect - coming under jeopardy. Going too far to the political left and going too soft with competition seems to give rise to instability.


The reason why I took this detour is to try and show the mechanics behind why we don’t all work together to eliminate gender, as well as all other forms of discrimination. Societies are complex, and foundational changes take time.


Conclusion

Men and women are categorically not equal. Any claims of biological or behavioural equality at the macro scale are absurd. Absurd claims require an equally absurd amount of evidence to justify. Claims of equality are often ideological and dogmatic by their nature, and they carry an ever shrinking sway in academic and political circles. We don’t need to rely on false devices to construct a more equal society. Yes to equal rights and yes to equality under the eyes of the law. For example, an employer may not ask a female candidate whether she's planning to have children anytime soon, as a precondition to hiring. Often times the threat of being stigmatised is deterrent enough to prevent abuse of the system, and other times life happens.


Females in contention of leadership roles strengthen our societies by increasing the pool of talented and driven individuals vying for top spots. Elite females make any society and especially the EU a place for dynamism and harmony. I would find it ridiculous if in the future, should I have a daughter, that she would be discouraged from a subject in school, or her application rejected, or her earned promotion to be cast wayside all because of her gender. Many parents are in the same boat whether they identify with feminism and equality or not.


Whereas strong, educated, independent men and women are the lubricant in the cogs of a successful society, on the other hand, false claims and misplaced expectations can act as an agent of friction. The genders may not be equal, but that doesn't mean that we have to stop fighting against any form of institutionalised discrimination or for a more equal society for everyone.


Finally, on a personal note, I value my mother, sister, niece and the other women of my family greatly, as do I my ex-female coworkers, clients, and bosses (of which I have had 4 out of a possible 8). And frankly, even though I dislike gender discrimination, I have no issues with moving into the turf of people holding archaic views. My policy is one of engagement because I know that having grounded approach is corrosive to negative or invalid views.


In the end and until proven otherwise, no life is equal to that of another, and there is no alternative to embracing this diversity.


PS: Section titled "Political Correctivism" added on 1st December 2016.

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