If feminists want full equality for men and women, let them have it
The rise of feminists in British Universities and indeed throughout society in the last fifty years reveals some interesting trends, such as the growth of radical ideas focused on the upheaval of many traditional ways of running our country. These ideas have been to an extent absorbed into the political mainstream by government, which now has ministers for equality, women and the family. True, equality is not something which government can legislate to achieve in any political system, but these are sentiments most people would welcome.
Firstly, one must acknowledge that women getting paid less for doing the same job as a male colleague is totally unacceptable, even abhorrent, and thus the average 18% pay gap between men and women should be closed or nullified. Something should also be done about the fact that only around 1% of boardroom members in our leading companies are female. Feminists who think that these astronomical alterations to our economic and societal relations should come without costs, though, are deeply misguided.
If we are to see equality of the sort that many women seek, then in areas where men are the people who are disadvantaged our approach is going to have to change. Men are going to have to be accepted as equal parents, with women not getting presumed to get custody of the children after a break-up. Fathers really should get justice. Dads should be presumed to have as much paternity leave as women get maternity leave when their children are born.
In various careers, such a move would be interesting too. To get equality in the police force, the requirement for the minimum speed in running a mile would need to be dropped even further than it already has been in an attempt to help more women to qualify. The net result would be more criminals evading police custody. In the Army, an equal number of men and women should be at the frontline risking their lives for Queen and Country
Many feminists would favour equality in these areas, but how many would go and fight the enemy abroad or wrestle a drug-fuelled criminal to the ground? Their notion of equality is not one in which women and men share the burden of responsibility in the family home, at work or in the community, as they do almost entirely nowadays, but one where men take the risks, with women getting the rewards.
The most startling change would probably come in pensions. Women live four years longer on average in the UK than men do. However, most women retire at sixty – five years earlier than men doing the same job do. If Britain is facing a crisis with an ageing population, then why not merely extend the time women work by nine years (which would seem fair given the statistics) and enable them to retire at sixty-nine?
I defy you to find a feminist who thinks that this solution to a pressing problem throughout the western world is one worth adopting, but why should the male retirement age be extended to sixty-seven or sixty-eight when we already work longer?
In sport, the Olympic races should be unisex, with only three medals in every event – not the six that are currently awarded. One suspects that if equality was observed in this manner across the board, the female cause would be set back a couple of hundred years; few female athletes are able to compete with their male contemporaries. The point is that differences between the sexes abound, and that equality in some, if not most, areas is frankly unfeasible and would prove controversial and unfair.
In other areas, men are just as disadvantaged as women are – not being able to raise their children, working longer, and succumbing to certain societal expectations about behaviours such as proposing, making the first move, opening doors, paying bills and organising family finances. This renders any complaint of inequality obsolete.
Perhaps some would prefer to do the ironing or cook dinner and have their partners repair the DVD Player or mend a shelf, but we don’t protest about that perceived unfairness. Do women really want to change society’s expectations of men just for the sake of having a few more female MPs or boardroom directors?
It is important for women to have the opportunity to excel in an environment which gives them a chance to compete on a level playing field or running track against each other before they do so with men. Girls, before you too join the ranks of the feminists in demanding more representation, opportunity, prestige and uniformity, remember to be careful what you wish for.