EQUALITY ≠ SAME
EQUALITY DOES NOT MEAN BEING THE SAME.
Equality is about giving equal opportunities to everyone so that they have the chance to live a fulfilling life and discover and pursue their talents. But it also means acknowledging our differences.
The reason gender equality is important for our society is because it enables all of us as human beings to freely follow our passions, develop our skills, and chose from options regardless of how we were born, regardless of expectations based on sex.
IMAGINE THIS EXAMPLE:
If you’re all doing equal amounts of work on the report, would you expect some members might not be giving their all? Maybe they might be distracted with another order of fries, or worrying if one of the plants is getting enough light? Which one would you want to be?
This is like gender expectations. Besides, nine to five jobs women have, they are also expected to come home and have a plan for caring for the kids and keep everything straight. They don’t just get to ask their husband “What can I help with?”
Then there’s taking care of the house, remembering to call and take care of parents, they may even need to take care of their husband. Care is generally “women’s work”. Even if it takes all day, this work is unpaid, just like the students in our example. Just like the classmates who couldn’t focus solely on their report, we see it was much harder for them to contribute equally
There is a difference in equality de jure (talked about in laws, regulations, rules) and equality de facto (what we experience in reality).
Even with just and equal laws, day-to-day inequality can still show up. This can emerge from culture, traditions, and expectations. As a result, men and women do not have equal opportunities in real life.
It is said that boys are better at math. Can this be proven in practice? According to researchers, when asked to solve mathematical exercises with no prescribed method, girls turn to formulas and equations more often, while boys use charts and diagrams. But is this enough to say who is better at math?
When we look at men and women in jobs that require math, we also see something odd. Men will primarily enter technical and engineering jobs. However, women are more frequently in accounting, which uses just as much complex math. The difference doesn’t speak to a different level of mathematical knowledge but about the different expectations laid on girls and boys when they chose their field of study. As you may have guessed, the more prestigious and better paid the jobs are, the more they’re filled by men.
Look back at the beginning. If we compare the results of male and female students at high schools and universities, we don’t find any differences in raw talent. Yet, even here we often see approaches of math and science teachers that tend to encourage and favour boys while underestimating girls.
YOU’RE LUCKY YOU’RE PRETTY.
“In high school, my science teacher was convinced that girls simply don’t know science. And she behaved according to her belief. She mostly taught boys and would evaluate girls’ tests with nice notes, such as at least you’re pretty.”
She gave us the textbook example of unequal treatment which can discourage girls from science fields for life, regardless of their true talents or skills. What’s worse, she forgot when she was a girl. She studied science once, too.
DO YOU KNOW ANY FEMALE SCIENTISTS?
DON’T RUIN YOUR DRESS, DON’T GET IT DIRTY.