“Gender equality, historically, has been predominantly a women’s movement for women. But I think the impact of gender equality and how it is affecting men has not really been addressed.”
- Emma Watson
Last week, an important date passed without making any noise. I have wanted to discuss this for some time, to shed some light on a day that goes by without ever making a mark.
For many people, the 19th of November is an insignificant date, of no particular importance. A day like any other. For the vast majority of those around me, it is just another day in the great race to close the year. Whether on a personal or professional level, November 19 is simply a reminder that the year is coming to an end. That a new chapter is preparing to begin soon through our New Year’s resolutions on all levels. That said, I think it’s time to give more importance to this 19th of November and what it represents.
In fact, it is a designated date to celebrate the cultural, political and socio-economic achievements of a group of humanity. This date has the same symbolism as the importance of March 8, for another group in the global population. These two dates allow me to say with confidence that the human race has made incredible progress in many disciplines, but that there is still work to be done. Some areas remain neglected out of simple ignorance or because we have been absorbed by a distorted narrative, distracting us from the real problem. After all, both dates are about elevating society to a stage of equity, where our differences really do become assets in moving forward.
Both November 19 and March 8 are dates that should be celebrated with pride, as they represent the importance of men and women respectively to each other. Of course, neither of them is perfect, with the exceptions that contribute to the negative reputation of each. A reputation largely built up through social prerequisites, preventing any form of communication and mutual support at times.
The idea is hardly to downplay the challenges and struggles a woman endures in the course of her daily life in order to focus solely on the storms a man goes through. This also applies in the case of a role reversal. This approach would only widen the gap between two people who ultimately complement each other in many ways. It was never about a competition between two rivals as social networks would portray it today. It was about two teammates working together towards the same goal, where each benefits the team by being unique in his or her behaviour, thoughts, physique, and way of working.
There are days when I can step back from this seemingly endless debate. As if the other person is responsible for all the ills and problems of the world. We are faced with a number of precarious situations as a result of structural problems that have developed over several decades. There are some areas that are more favourable to men than to women, and the opposite is true in other situations. Manipulating data in order to obtain statistics that only suit one’s own narrative is never representative of the overall context, weakening the credibility of the cause one is trying to eliminate.
The fight for gender equality is one of the greatest social causes today. Unfortunately, its general definition is distorted. It is not about raising the social level of women to that of men today. Gender equality – as well as equity – will be achieved when the social status of both partners is established in such a way that we are able to enjoy the same benefits and opportunities when we have the same skills. However, it must be understood that this does not mean that there are no differences between the two.
"Be a man!"
- I'll Make A Man Out Of You by Donny Osmond
Every human being is different, with qualities and flaws, specialities and shortcomings. We see this in sports, creativity, working methods and so on. There are common areas, such as housework, which are life skills and not responsibilities assigned by gender.
March 8 is strongly celebrated around the world and should always be, because women deserve their place at the banquet, where they will be heard and respected for their ideas and the strength they represent. The 19th of November should no longer be forgotten because it is believed that the grass is greener on the other side. Humanity has made a lot of progress so far, but the road is still long.
Yesterday I proudly celebrated the 19th of November for all the men who persist in doing their best in this world. Tomorrow, I will do the same on the 8th of March to honour the women in my life whom I admire, and any woman who is willing to give up her life.