Hyderabad: 30 September 2023: Ah, the age-old quest for equality! You know, that noble pursuit where everyone should be treated with fairness and respect, regardless of gender, race, or any other arbitrary factor. But, plot twist: equality apparently has its favorites! Who would've thought? Just when we believed we grasped the concept, it seems some are more equal than others. Fasten your seatbelts, dear readers, as we delve into this paradoxical world where "Apparently, Equality Has a Preference!" Because nothing says progress like a few contradictions along the way, right?
The age-old art of keeping things going, come rain or shine. You see it in the relentless flow of rivers, the predictable rising and setting of the sun, and, of course, in society's fondness for gender roles and gender inequality. Well, surprise, surprise! Gender inequality and gender roles? Related? Who would've guessed?! Once upon a time, our incredibly "wise" ancestors decided that if you're born with certain anatomy, there's a very specific list of things you should (and shouldn't) do. Fast forward a few centuries, and voilà: an entire societal framework built on these whimsical rules. For example, the Babylonian Empire had its collections of laws and judicial decisions. According to the code, people are divided into two genders; male and female. The life of a woman is worth thirty silver coins and that of a slave woman twenty silver coins, whereas, the eye of a man is worth sixty silver coins. If one man kills the daughter of another they shall kill his daughter. Isn’t it strange that the killer stays unharmed while; his innocent daughter is executed as punishment?
Now, how could a system that tells half the population they're better suited for domestic tasks while the other half should "man up" and dominate the world, possibly lead to inequality? It's truly one of life's greatest mysteries. Just like that favorite television show with season after season, these two cultural phenomena have kept on rolling, evolving with time but never really leaving the stage. One might even call them the dynamic duo of societal norms, always ensuring there's never a dull moment. Just when you think society's made progress, there's a spin-off, a sequel, or a reboot, reminding us of their deeply entrenched legacy. And well, well, well, if it isn't the "Three Musketeers" of societal faux pas: gender roles, gender inequality, and their dear friend, gender discrimination. What a delightful trio! Because why stop at merely assigning roles or perpetuating inequality when you can also throw in a good dose of discrimination for good measure? It's like the cherry on top of an already confusing sundae. Over the years, this trifecta has woven a tapestry so intricate that we often can't tell where one ends and the other begins. "You can't do that because you're a woman!" or "Man up and don't cry!" Ah, music to our ears. Just when we thought we had a handle on the nuances of gender roles and inequality, discrimination sashays in with its razzle-dazzle, ensuring that the party never stops.
Ah, patriarchy! That age-old club where men have seemingly held the reins of every major institution, from politics to pop tarts. It's almost like they drew the long straw in the cosmic game of "Who gets to call the shots?" And boy, have they been making decisions that, coincidentally, just seem to always favor them. What a wild coincidence, right?
But hey, that's not all! The patriarchy also brought us those timeless gender norms. You know, the ones that say men should love blue, cars, and grunting, while women should obsess over pink, dolls, and being eternally pleasing. So convenient, really? Who needs individuality and personal choices when you have a one-size-fits-all societal handbook?
It's almost like a comedy sketch, if only it wasn't so darn real. Kudos, patriarchy, for keeping the world on its toes (and by toes, I mean the tip-toes of women trying to peek into decision-making rooms). We're all eagerly awaiting the next season of "Keeping Up with the Patriarchs!" Maybe this time, they'll finally introduce a plot twist where everyone's interests are considered. One can only hope, right?
So, gender discrimination is this nifty concept where you judge someone based solely on their gender. Because, you know, why judge someone by their character when you can focus on whether they're male, female, or any other gender?
Ah, equality! That golden word that's been sung about, shouted about, and... selectively applied? Wait a minute. Plot twist! Apparently, when we all clamored for equality, we forgot to read the fine print: "Terms and conditions may apply, and some exclusions are evident." Who knew?
Historically, the term 'equality' seems to have been a bit of a chameleon, changing its colors based on the era, geography, and even the mood of the times. Think about it. There was a time when only men of a certain class could vote. Then, slowly but surely, the doors creaked open for women – but only for some women, in some places, during specific times of day, if the weather was right and Mercury wasn't in retrograde. I exaggerate, but you get the gist.
As we moved through the annals of history, we also started to realize that gender wasn’t the only arena where equality played favorites. Race, religion, socioeconomic status, and more recently, sexual orientation – all became battlegrounds. It’s as if equality was a limited-time offer, available in selected stores only, and subject to availability.
Jump to our modern era, with all its advancements, and you'd expect clarity. But no, the waters of equality have turned even murkier. Now, we have algorithms and tech tools that claim to remove human biases. Yet, somehow, they often end up echoing the very prejudices we wanted to escape. “Computer says no” takes on a whole new meaning when the algorithms start deciding who gets a job, a loan, or even a date on Friday night.
Here's a fun game: step into any corporate boardroom and play "Spot the Minority." Spoiler: It's not always as diverse as one would hope. And while the business world loves to toss around phrases like "equal opportunity employer," sometimes it feels more like they're saying, "equal opportunity... but some are more equal than others." Because, you see, promotions, pay raises, and power plays seem to have a slight male bias. Just a smidge.
Nothing livens up daily life like a dash of stereotypes. Men can't multitask. Women are too emotional to lead. Men shouldn't wear pink. Women can't read maps. It's a rollercoaster of expectations, and it seems like our dear friend equality loves to ride the loops of these clichés, occasionally getting dizzy and forgetting its purpose.
In today's age, where we talk about Mars missions and AI revolutions, one might expect gender norms to be a thing of the past. But surprise! Like that outdated pair of bell-bottom jeans in the back of your closet, these norms keep popping up. "Boys will be boys," they say, or "that's not very ladylike." Yes, even in the age of self-driving cars, these age-old scripts keep getting a rerun.
Who doesn’t love a daily dose of lowered self-esteem or a pinch of anxiety, all thanks to our dear friend, gender discrimination? It's the gift that keeps on giving!
But before we start playing a somber violin, there's a silver (or maybe glittering gold?) lining. Global movements for women's rights, racial and ethnic equality are making noise - and not just the gentle, whisper-in-the-library kind, but full-blown, eardrum-busting rock concert levels. It's like watching a tennis match, with genuine equality on one side and outdated biases on the other. And even if it sometimes feels like the score is 'Advantage: Prejudice', we're rallying back. As we navigate this winding road, each cheeky comment, every eyeroll, and those hilarious misconceptions become markers of our journey towards understanding what equality truly is. So, straighten that tiara, and let's stride forth! After all, we've got a topsy-turvy world to set right, one chuckle at a time.
Writer: Marium Mangi