Equal doesn’t mean identical

AS we strive to outdo each other in our lives and in a world where competition reigns and feigns arrogance and impunity, we have to be careful how “difference” is perceived.

Being simply different in character, attitude, and perception and biological make-up is not a sign of weakness or inferiority. We all thrive on our differences which is the quintessence of diversity and illustriousness.

This column, which is making its maiden appearance, will cover an infinite number of topics and issues on the subject of difference, which could cover anything from diversification, uniqueness, queerness and exceptionality.

The most obvious difference in mankind today is gender which has been a subject of abject debate and controversy. Gender discrimination has seen many crescendos and in the most recent decade, it has taken on a more aggressive twist with the millennial shift in the way things are professed.

There is always a simple answer to the most complex question and a complex answer to a simple question and in either case, our unique ability to discern will make a whole lot of difference in what is expressly stated or subtly understood.

Women do certain things better than men. And men can do certain things better than women. Why can’t we just accept this and move on? This is as simple as it can get but we all know that it is far graver than this.

The subject has a complex set of culture, beliefs and attitudes weaved in making it complex, complicated and utterly sensitive.

Additionally, because feminism wants to insist that men and women are “differently equal” it is a challenge finding the middle path.

So men and women aren’t “equal”? Because if they were, men would be able to breastfeed and give birth, and women would be able to lift loads. That’s “equal”.

Equal doesn’t mean identical. One plus three is the same as two plus two.

In mathematics, the term “equal” is used when things are “equal in value”, and being equal in value means the tea lady and the CEO of the company are equal in value, equal in the eyes of the law, equal in their values as humans, equal in their rights and opportunities to live and pursue happiness.

So are men and women equal then? We can conclude for our discussion today that each of us is equal in our value as a being.

But the one and three don’t try to pretend they’re both “twos”. That’s what radical feminists want to prove but I think one and three deserve equal rights and they have their own values and they complement one another to make the four.

And yet when we are detached, the one and three are on their own merit, disconnected and yet enjoying their own individuality and celebrating their difference.

Demonising women, particularly wives has become a hobby for people who have little to do in life. They churn out creative quotes and phrases on women and these get likes and are shared on the virtual space, some for a good laugh and yet others just riling up. We don’t see much of these on men, do we?

By the same token, we tend to practise selective sexism when it suits us. We feel thrilled and special when a man opens the door for us and when we are accorded special privileges by design in the public sphere.

We do not reject these as these may project women as a “needy” lot. The vociferous voices from the women need to be in tune with the revolutionary times we are in today and before we demand, can we decide what we really want?

Meanwhile, it is learnt that Through the Global Gender Gap Report, the World Economic Forum quantifies the magnitude of gender disparities and tracks their progress, with a focus on the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics.

The 2016 Report covers 144 countries. More than a decade of data has revealed that progress is still too slow for realising the full potential of one half of humanity within our lifetimes.

“The world is facing an acute misuse of talent by not acting faster to tackle gender inequality, which could put economic growth at risk and deprive economies of the opportunity to develop,” according to the report and this will be our next topic of discussion.

Comments: letters@thesundaily.com