Good and Bad Gender Equality

性别平等取得了长足进步,,en,大约一百年前,,en,世界上大多数女性没有投票权,,en,没有选举权,,en,使用正确的术语,,en,马上,,en,我们有一个女人比以往任何时候都更接近美国总统办公室,,en,被认为是最强大的,,en,人,,en,在地球上,,en,在公司现场,,en,现在,我们看到许多女性担任重要职务,,en,即使是我们中最乐观的人也不会认为性别平等是现实,而且妇女已经到了,,en,这是为什么,,en,实现平等的圣杯到底有什么困难?,,en,我认为困难在于我们的定义,,en,我们所说的女性平等,,en,就政治正确性而言,整个平等问题是一个雷区,,en. About one hundred years ago, most women in the world didn’t have the right to vote — no suffrage, to use the correct term. Right now, we have a woman inching closer than ever to the office of President of the United States, considered the most powerful “man” on earth. In the corporate scene too, we now see many women in powerful positions.

But, even the most optimistic among us wouldn’t argue that gender equality is a reality and that women have arrived. Why is that? What exactly is the difficulty in achieving this holy grail of equality?

I think that the difficulty lies in our definition, in what we mean by women’s equality. Of course, the whole equality issue is a minefield as far as political correctness is concerned. 而且我正在冰上滑行,没有理智的人会梦想着介入,,en,但是专栏作家可以被接受,,en,面对现实吧,,en,有点令人讨厌,,en,所以我们开始,,en,我觉得平等有好有坏,,en,让我们以网球大满贯为例,,en,他们在哪里,,en,实现,,en,通过使奖金相等来实现平等,,en,争论只是因为男女平等,她们应该得到相同的奖金,,en,对我来说,,el,根本没有什么争论,,en,这是一种自尊心,,en,有点像居高临下,,en,虽然,,en,善意的,,en,学习母语的母语人士会提供的鼓励,,en,我在法国的五年旅行即将结束,,en,我能说一口流利的法语,而人们常常告诉我,,en,当然令人鼓舞,,en. But a columnist is allowed to be opinionated and, let’s face it, a bit obnoxious. So here we go…

I feel that there are good and bad arguments for equality. Let’s take the case of tennis Grand Slams, where they “achieved” equality by equalizing the prize moneys. The argument was simply that women and men were equal and they deserved the same prize money.

To me, it wasn’t much of an argument at all. It was a form of condescension. It is a bit like the condescending (though, no doubt, well-meaning) encouragements offered by native speakers when you learn their tongue. Towards the end of my five year sojourn in France, I could speak pretty good French and people used to tell me, encouragingly of course, 我说得很好,,en,总是意味着我说的不够好,,en,他们根本不会注意到,,en,他们会,,en,他们不会四处恭喜对方,他们完美的法语,,en,男女网球运动员是否真的平等,,en,没有人会谈论平等,,en,不会有,,en,男装,,en,单打和,,en,女士的,,en,单打开始,,en,只有单身,,en,因此,这种关于奖金平等的说法是不好的,,en,有一个更好的论点,,en,奖金由致力于推广其产品的公司机构赞助,,en,因此,赞助商对电视收视感兴趣,,en,鉴于女单打吸引的观众人数与男单观众一样多,,en,奖金应该相等,,en,这是一个可靠的论点,,en. To me, it always meant that I didn’t speak well enough, for if I did, they just wouldn’t notice it at all, would they? After all, they don’t go around congratulating each other on their perfect French!

Similarly, if men and women tennis players were really equal, nobody would speak of equality. There wouldn’t be “men’s” singles and “women’s” singles to begin with — there would be just singles! So this argument for equality in prize money is bad one.

There is a much better argument. Prize money is sponsored by corporate bodies bent on promoting their products. The sponsors are therefore interested in TV viewership. Given that women’s singles draws in as many viewers as men’s, the prize money should be equal. Now, that is a solid argument. 我们应该研究真正存在平等的维度,而不是人为地强加于平等,,en,当平等的各个方面涵盖了我们生活的方方面面,,en,我们可以肯定地说性别平等已经到来,,en,我们不应该在睾丸激素驱动的运动领域中寻求平等,,en,可能包括公司金字塔的较高梯队,,en,我们应该通过对自然差异给予足够的尊重和重视,将关于平等的辩论降为无关紧要,,en,由一个人表达,,en,我的这个陈述,,en,有点怀疑,,en,我不是试图通过给她们无用的尊重而不是真正的平等来缩短她们的人数,,en,我曾经听到过类似的交流,当时有人争辩说我喀拉拉邦的妇女享有较高的性别平等,因为,,en.

When such dimensions of equality encompass all aspects of our lives, we will be able to safely say that gender equality has arrived. We should not be looking for equality in testosterone-driven playing fields, which, by the way, may include higher echelons of the corporate pyramid. We should be relegating debates on equality to irrelevance by attributing enough respect and value to natural differences.

Articulated by a man, this statement of mine, of course, is a bit suspect. Aren’t I trying to shortchange women by offering them useless respect rather than real equality?

I once heard a similar exchange when someone argued that women in my native land of Kerala enjoyed higher level of gender equality because, 来自母系系统,,en,他们统治了家庭,,en,对此观点的精辟反驳来自一位Keralite女人,,en,只要男人统治世界,男人就会非常乐意让女人统治家庭,,en,我们几乎要让希拉里·克林顿(Hillary Clinton)统治世界,而只有两个男人站在她的路上,,en,所以也许性别平等终于来了,,en,太友善了,,en,字里行间,,en, they ruled the household. The pithy rebuttal to that argument came from a Keralite woman, “Men are perfectly happy to let women rule their households as long as they get to rule the world!”

Then again, we are pretty close to letting Hillary Clinton rule the world with just two men standing in her way. So perhaps gender equality has finally arrived after all.

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