This is the first time I’ve heard of #Gender Inequality expressed not only as an issue of women not bring treated equally, but of men not being given the opportunity too.
I’ve long been a proponent of the need for men and women being equals. That’s one of the core beliefs of the Baha’i Faith – that men and women are two wings of one bird, and until both wings are equally developed it cannot fly. It was a key reason that I became a Baha’i for a time.
I’ve always thought of the issue from the perspective of the need to ensure that women are given the same benefits and opportunities that men enjoy; equal pay, equal opportunity, and such.
Maybe it’s because I readily express my feelings, and that I’m a sensitive male. My closest friends will know that I’m not afraid to cry in public, especially if something touches my heart, and that I’ll do it at the drop of a hat. I view this as a strength, not a weakness.
So maybe that’s why I’ve never considered or perceived gender inequality as having a second face; that because of gender inequality men were suffering too – at least not the way Emma put it.
I believe in the web of life concept, and that if one suffers, we all suffer. So if women are suffering due to gender inequality, then so are men, because women aren’t given the opportunity to reach their full potential.
But the idea Emma put forth goes beyond that. Because of the box that has been created that defines what men should be like, men are suffering too. As a child, I certainly suffered because of my sensitivity at the hands of school bullies, but somehow I’ve never seen it as an issue of gender inequality.
One of the issues I’ve tackled in my life is that of suicide. Living in Nunavut, it’s an issue that is hard to ignore and is one that shouldn’t be. I became an active member of The Baffin Crisis Line which became Kamatsiaqtut: The Nunavut Help Line to do what I could to help. I applied my skills as a listener, my skills as a communicator and my nature as a sensitive person as a force for good. So while I empathized and sympathized with everything Emma said, this part stuck out in a big way for me:
I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less ‘macho’ – in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.
– Emma Watson, UN Women Global Ambassador
Needless to say, as a sensitive soul, I teared up at this revelation.
Emma is right. It’s time to put a stop to gender inequality. Women, you’ve always had my support, and I’ve always had your back. Men, you have it now too.
#HeForShe – Count me in.
Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that requires my participation. I commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.
Men, I just made the commitment at #HeForShe –
It’s your turn now. Their next goal: 200,000 men.