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Gender Equity and the Demeaning of Men's Issues

<p>PRI Weekly Briefing, September 24, 2007 Vol. 9 / No. 35</p> 9

29 October 2007     Vol. 9 / No. 40

Dear Colleague,

Attending an academic conference recently, I heard feminists denounce the lack of equality between men and women. They claimed to want "gender equity," demanding more female heads of state, higher wages, and above all, access to abortion. But somehow they missed something even more fundamental that divides the sexes: lifespans.

Steven W. Mosher

GENDER EQUITY AND THE DEMEANING OF MEN'S ISSUES

A lot of ink is spilled these days over gender equity. Laws have been passed

protecting it. Movements have sprung up, fighting for it. Organizations have

been founded to promote it. Political leaders have sworn to uphold it. But gender equity programs aren't really about equal rights for men and women, any more than equal opportunity programs are about leveling the playing field between the races. The gender equity feminists are not after mere equality in rights; they want equality of outcomes.

After all, in terms of rights, equality already exists. In the U.S., women have been able to vote since 1920. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 guaranteed equal pay for equal work. The 1964 Civil Rights Act banned workplace discrimination. And in 1973 Roe v. Wade imposed the most radical and devastating "women's right"-abortion on demand--on these United States.

In the U.S., women have been able to vote since 1920

An objective observer might assume that the battle for equality has largely been won. The emphasis on gender roles has diminished. Women are now respected in politics and in the workplace. They are free to choose a husband and a career. They are even free to kill their own unborn children if they feel so inclined.

But all this is not nearly enough for the gender equity groups, who practice what has been called the "feminist victim cult." The goal here is not equality, but superiority. As Roseanne Barr famously advised: "The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it." The Roseannes of the world want payback for a perceived male hierarchy that has oppressed them and their kind for all of human history. Unfortunately, in many ways, they have largely succeeded.

For instance, it is a well-known fact that men do not live as long as women. In some countries the age gap has been recorded at 10 years or more. There is no commonly accepted explanation for this disparity. Some researchers attribute this longevity to the fact that women menstruate; others claim that women have stronger hearts. Regardless of the cause, the fact remains: men live dramatically shorter lives than their female counterparts. Nor do they organize to protest this lack of "gender equity." Rather, after the male fashion, which we used to call manly, they go quietly to their graves.

It does not seem to us to be progress when millions of young men enter the work force ill-equipped to be fathers and providers

The same is true in academia. Gender equity groups hold endless seminars on the disadvantages that women face in school, but recent polls show that 57% of today's college students are women. USA Today, reporting on this trend, noted that it had "developed in plain view - not ignored exactly, but typically accompanied by some version of the question: Isn't this a sign of women's progress?"

It does not seem to us to be progress when millions of young men enter the work force ill-equipped to be fathers and providers. Here again, gender equity has morphed into gender superiority, to the more-or-less open approbation of gender equity groups. When it is mentioned at all, the problem is ignored or downplayed, as when the American Council on Education released a report in 2000 claiming that "there is little evidence to suggest that white, middle-class males are falling behind their female peers." "But what about Blacks, Hispanics, and poor Whites?" one wants to ask. Don't their sons matter?

Imagine the outcry if women were underrepresented in academe, and some body issued a report saying not to worry, white, middle-class women are doing just fine.

Gender equity groups, which see men as oppressors and takers, generally ignore these new inequities in lifespans and education. Where they take note of them at all, they tend to justify them as payment for past sins.

Women's issues are, and will remain, vitally important throughout the world. But so, too, will men's. True equality is attained when both are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve as children of God.

Colin Mason is the Director for Media Production at PRI.

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