This past week, I attended a seminar at the university where I’m taking my 10-month certificate program (another story, another blog post hahah). The conversation was around Peace in the Middle East (that’s what the event was called).
Afterward, during Q&A, a woman stood up and diplomatically noted that none of the panelists were female and that she wished she could see more of equal representation of genders. She mentioned that she knew of many women in field of peace and inter-cultural development that would have had many great things to share and impart during the seminar.
Everyone sort of took a short breath in, or at least I did, wondering how this was going to go down.
Out of the three panelists, the youngest man’s response stuck in my mind.
Somewhere along the way in his response, he said that he felt today, men and women have the same opportunities, the same level of access to speaking, doing, and working. That any women that wanted to be on stage would have had the chance to do so.
This immediately caused a wide-eyed response and a little guffaw from the woman that had brought up the issue. She shared that she didn’t agree with his perspective, that there was indeed a sizable gender inequality, and I got the feeling that she was someone who felt very strongly about this topic (I should have known since she first shared haha).
And here, I’m going to say that… I believe we need more men like the young panelist in the world.
I’m wary of saying it because I feel like I might get stoned.
But here’s why.
This man, perhaps in his naïveté and haste and based on my judgment of him for the 2 hours, spoke of a world within that knew no differences between men and women. I don’t think it’s that he’s completely oblivious to the fundamental obvious differences that truly distinguish man and woman e.g. physical characteristics, ability, etc.
I think he perhaps chooses to see the world as equal as it can get, to the point that he can come into a seminar in Southern California and say that he doesn’t think there are inequalities in the workplace, in politics, in social work, international diplomacy, etc.
In my opinion.
I feel like he is one who wouldn’t flinch at a women taking his position at his job (if he really does mean what he says) or a women taking a position next to him and getting a raise quicker if she exemplifies the work ethic, results, and presence that warrants the recognition and reward.
I feel like he is one who wouldn’t resist – or doesn’t even know how to resist a women’s strength, not because he’s ignorant, but because a woman’s strength isn’t a challenge against his own. A woman’s strength is strength is strength. Like his own.
I feel like he wouldn’t compare between himself and a her. I feel like he wouldn’t feel the need to strut his shit in front of a woman because, in his world (and I know, I’m assuming a lot), there’s nothing to prove, nothing to shame, nothing to be ashamed about.
Or maybe I’m wrong. Maybe a month from now, a year, who knows, I’ll realize how foolish and naive I was hahah. I don’t know.
But I do know, from my understanding and experience, the more aware we are of differences, the starker they stand against each other. At that point, the question is how do we want to go about the differences?
My other question would be, how far does it take his genderblinded-ness? Does he appreciate and respect the differences? Or is he one-dimensional in his perspective? What filter does he see his world through?
Thoughts, just thoughts.