How long will this go on? How long before the majority of the world’s women are no longer treated as the property of men? When will we be rid of this ridiculous notion that man-over-woman slavery is acceptable?
It is the same in every society; women do most of the work but earn less money and own less property. It is the severe treatment of women in the most the most extreme cultures, however, that demands an immediate end to politeness and patience.
There are many societies, for example, that still do not allow women to vote. This is despite the fact that women have had great success as political leaders in other nations.
In many countries men can beat and kill women and get away with it. Women are beyond the protection of the law there, yet women serve as judges and police officers in other places.
It is a crime for a woman to drive a car in some societies. Meanwhile, they fly space shuttles elsewhere. Clearly the gender issue is as absurd as it is tragic. It scrapes upon the depths of human ignorance and moral failure, and the pace of improvement is far too slow. Perhaps concerned people should change tactics. Maybe it is time to worry less about the medieval-minded perpetrators of these crimes and focus on the powerful people and nations who are more progressive but look the other way as women in other nations suffer.
Yes, conferences, reports and pledges are important but where is the fury? After thousands of years of abuse, is it not yet time for decent people throughout the world to stand up and start screaming for an end to it? Who cares if crimes against women hide behind the forcefield of religion or are committed on the other side of an imaginary line (national border)? Even a minimal level of compassion and a basic sense of fairness should be enough to reject any more tolerance for this.
In the 1970s and 1980s there was plenty of anger and action directed against South Africa for its mistreatment of people based on race. Where are the petitions calling for divestment and sanctions against countries that mistreat people based on gender? Where are the protest marches on university campuses against gender apartheid? Where are the Olympic boycotts? Where are the military invasions to free women suffering under the tyranny of men? Where is the outrage?
Ultimately, our gender problem can’t be solved without an acknowledgement of full human status for women. A woman is not merely a version of a man. Women are not lesser forms of the ideal human. A woman is as much a representative of humankind as a man. If we ever hope to dump the burden of our prehistoric traditions, then we will have to stop obsessing over group identities and the kooky prejudices that accompany them. Gender, race, religion, and nationality distract us from an important truth. We are first human.
World News editor Guy P. Harrison is at [email protected]