What is gender equality?
To put it simply: It is when men, women and other genders have the same rights, access to opportunities, and privileges in a society.
The main objective of gender equality is equal and fair treatment regardless of your gender. It is the eradication of gender-based prejudices and biases in order to create a society that functions equal for all genders. This also means that all genders have the same participation quotas without additional obstacles in different environments such as in employment or in education. In Norway for example, they implemented gender quotas in their political parties to increase the representation of female politicians.
In countries or communities where the gap between genders is still enormous and women are treated inferior than men, people need to be taught how to treat everyone as equals regardless of their gender. In developed countries, where men and women have come to a point where they are treated more or less equal, there is still discrimination and sexism that needs to be fought.
But would equality of opportunity work better and would it be more fair? Let’s take a closer look at what equality of opportunity really means.
So, what exactly is equality of opportunity?
Equality of opportunity is when everyone has the same opportunity to become something or do something regardless of their gender or any other trivial attributes. It means everyone is in a free competition with one another without artificial barriers or obstacles. This system permits for example employers to choose their candidates based on their competences and capacities instead of their gender, nationality, or religion. In that way, everyone has the equal opportunity to become what they wish if they possess the skill set necessary for it.
This is possible if the system provides an “equal start” of opportunities like giving access to education to every kid regardless of their background, gender, or economical condition. Having those values taught to children, will allow them to recognize that superficiality does not matter in the world, but only inner values. Unfortunately, this is by far not the case nowadays. There are still women out there who struggle with artificial and superficial barriers put upon them.
What is happening today?
We evolve more and more into a society in which we believe in gender equality. Naturally, we need a certain degree of gender equality in order to have a proper functioning society and a certain level of peace. But to acquire the equality, which is fairest to everyone, we need more opportunity equality.
The main problem with gender equality (and any other attribute-based equality), is that you force a certain equality which could become to some extent unhealthy. In the idealism of gender equality, every man and woman shall be employed equally in each job position. Though, in some situations, it is difficult to achieve because women could have other interests and strengths. They might want to take a position of their preference and choice. Taking the example of a construction company, they could decide to employ 50% women and 50% men because they want to enforce gender equality. Then, first of all, they might not be able to find that many women who are interested in taking this position because women might have other interests and priorities. Therefore, their productivity and results will be massively affected. As a matter of fact, some women do not have the same physical ability as men when it comes to heavy duty.
If you install gender quotas, this could reduce the productivity of the construction. The same situation exists vice-versa. Some men are not as competent as women in fine and precision work. If you try to force quotas in your company, you will also notice that the productivity might drop as well as the quality of their results. This example is obviously speaking for the majority of people and this example does not apply to everybody!
Nevertheless, women shall have the same opportunity as men to work in construction and men shall have the same opportunity to become make-up artists for example. This is why a society functions best when applying equality of opportunity. Men and women should rather work to complement each other rather than to substitute each other. Building a society based on competence instead of superficiality makes people less insecure about their trivial attributes and creates confidence in people’s capacities. This will ensure that most people actually do what they like because they are not stopped or hindered by artificial and superficial hurdles (such as gender) put by us human beings. By putting quotas for example, you actually create obstacles to certain people because they do not meet the superficial requirement an employer is looking for. So, instead of employing the most competent person, you might be obliged to employ somebody less competent because of their gender.
This phenomena, “positive discrimination” , actually happens more and more among big companies that claim to be gender inclusive. Even though this is positive discrimination, it is still discrimination. Women do not need society to feel sorry for them. Women need to be encouraged to succeed at what they love to do.