Monday, September 25, 2023

Maybe we turned a corner in empowering women


Essays, op-eds, news stories, and the like have been flying off the pages of high school newspapers across the country about the #MeToo movement, which has brought shame and, in many cases, unemployment to several powerful men for their sexual predation of women.

“Women are not toys,” writes Riddhi Andurkar, the managing editor for the Central Times at Naperville Central High School in Illinois, analogizing a child playing with a toy robot to an influential man preying on a woman who needs to keep her job. She’s angry that society has, since Aristotle, held the belief that women were “more emotional and incapable of regulating their emotions” and that they were “more capable of lying, manipulating, and misinforming.”

Have we made progress? she wonders. Maybe.

In recent times, we see that women have become stronger and more confident. They no longer fall victim to the bribes of influential men in their field. In fact, the women themselves have become powerful and influential.

Because of this positive change, society has started to listen to the stories of these women. This newly found confidence inside women has brought them far. It has allowed their voices to be heard.

It took us over 50 years to understand and believe the incidents some of these women had to face. That is progress, but now we must probe deeper into the issue and investigate the root cause to forever eliminate the problem.

On these pages, I have addressed this “probing” Ms Andurkar seems to seek, concluding that we are indeed evolving as a people. Just as we’ve developed farming and distribution chains to meet our need for food, we’re now seeing the same kind of earth-shattering developments when it comes to sex. That is how it should be, since we are better than animals, which basically serve those two needs and nothing more to keep their species alive.

There’s still a long way to go, however, as there is with any revolution—or, in this case, evolution. Women still aren’t treated the same as men when it comes to compensation for the work they do, notes Rachel Nelson in The North View, the student newspaper at Belvidere North High School, also in Illinois.

“Part of the reason why more women aren’t making it into the high-paying executive positions is because the corporate world is still governed by ‘old-school rules.’ Women work as hard as—if not harder than—men in the workplace. This is usually to prove that they belong there, but too many times they are being ignored when applying for the same promotions as men,” she writes.

Those “old-school” rules she refers to are really the same thing Ms Andurkar was bringing into the debate when she wrote about Aristotle’s view of women and how those beliefs still pervade human society. We put the same restrictions in the workplace, a uniquely human development, on women as we do on African-Americans.

A world where equality reigns would have no such restrictions, of course, but we’re not there yet. As we look at our places of employment, those places in our lives that help us put food on our tables and send our kids to the best schools they can attend, we overlook our utter failure to make the “workplace” evolve to help meet our other basic need of sex and reproduction. I’m not totally sure it can evolve in such a way, but let’s at least try to keep an open mind.

I believe the only way this evolution of the human species will move forward is to bring women into the same powerful positions men have, not in an affirmative-action way, as with trying to convince girls to pursue STEM careers when their interests lie elsewhere, but in a caring way that brings awareness to what our baser instincts have brought us to.

Remember how, when the priest pedophilia scandal hit the Catholic Church, many smart people hypothesized that bringing women into the priesthood or allowing priests to marry would put a dent in the problem? The same goes for the #MeToo variety of sexual harassment and abuse: Bring women into positions of authority in order to evolve past the old-world stereotypes.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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