Women’s Day is being celebrated with great pomp and show across the world. While some corporates have organized games and parties for women, social media is going berserk with people wishing their female friends and of course, every celebrity or famous person worth its salt, is making a statement about it.
Despite all this, I was casually going about doing my things in a typical day when I came across this quote from Facebook COO, Sheryl Sandberg. She said, “An equal world will be one where women run half our countries and companies and men run half our homes. We will not rest until we reach that goal.” She also added, “We need to change the balance of power.”
Anticipatory apologies to Sandberg, but I could not help but laugh at this comment. I have often been classified under the umbrella of being a feminist since I have an incredibly aggressive independent streak. You can make your own judgments about whether that classification is misjudged or well-placed after reading some of my thoughts on this battle of the sexes.
Men are from Mars and Women from Venus
This common quote comes to mind when we are trying to look for ‘equal’ power for women in this male-dominated world. Men are different from women, right? Physically and mentally! I would rather not go into the physical differences between men and women, assuming we all know that!
However, it seems that many of us are not too well-versed in the differences between the male and the female brain. I would assume that is the case since so many people around the world are equating men and women and asking for equal rights, equal power and parity in every area imaginable.
According to ScienceMag, a magazine from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, women have significantly thicker cortices, and this has been co-related with higher scores in IQ tests and cognitive tests. Men, on the other hand, have a larger brain volume in subcortical areas like hippocampus, striatum, amygdala and thalamus. These play a role in memory and spacial awareness, learning and reward processing, emotions and decision making and sensory transmission respectively. The variance found in the sample of men is also higher than women too.
Sanford Medicine states that there enough evidence now (due to the availability of new technologies) that the brains of men and women are different. These differences can be noticed in babies of about 3-4 months.
All this research to prove a simple point – we are comparing apples and oranges here and saying that equal power should be given to apples and oranges. Apples and oranges must have equal rights. You should always have as many apples in your refrigerator as oranges. You cannot have more apples ruling your refrigerator than oranges. It is unfair to oranges if you don’t let them rule the fridge!
Stop Telling Anyone What to Do
There was a time when it was considered right for women to stay at home, nurture children and cook for the family. Today it is felt that women should step out of the house, work shoulder to shoulder with men and get equal opportunity to prove that they are equals. Beliefs have changed over time.
The thought that is lost on most is that there is a difference between male and masculinity and female and femininity. Masculinity and femininity are specific traits that individuals have. Males can have more feminine traits and females can have masculine traits (and I hope you are mature enough not to giggle at this).
Gentleness, empathy, caring, tolerance and nurturing are some feminine traits. Courage, independence, assertiveness and physical pressure are considered some masculine trait. Individuals chooses the way he or she wants to live based on their capabilities, talent, inclinations and these arise from the basic traits one has. Whether the arena is the home, raising children, cooking, working in a corporate, freelancing, entrepreneurship, or another, the choice should be based on the individuals desire, inclination and capability. Who is anyone else to say what traits you ‘should’ have based on gender?
Respect Individual Choices
Would it not be nice to keep this gender issue aside and expect people to choose their way of life based on their inclinations and traits? At the end of the day, is it not about individuals and what they want to do? Should an individual not have the choice to decide how they want to spend their life? And if that means more and more women choose to stay at home, so be it! Why is there today a pressure for young women to show they are as good or better than men? Why do they have to rise and break the ‘glass ceiling’? And why is there this pressure on young men to show they are progressive men by cooking and cleaning at home?
Its high time we learnt to open our minds to individual preferences and let things happen more naturally!
How many of you have grown up to realize that you ended up doing something ‘just’ because it was expected of you (sometimes subliminally, without being said out loud)? Do share your experiences in the comments, please!