My Turn: It’s time to give women a chance to lead

  • Demonstrators march up 5th Avenue during a women's march on Saturday, Jan. 21 in New York. AP

For the Monitor
Saturday, December 30, 2017

The revelation that sexual predators pervade the worlds of entertainment, politics and business might seem, at first blush, surprising. But not to women, who all have faced some form of gender discrimination or predation in their lives. My wife remembers nearly being snatched off the street in Manhattan’s garment district many years ago, while a crew of deliverymen watched from the open back of their truck, eating their lunches.

As disturbing as this is, it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Women are discriminated against around the world in many ways. In Saudi Arabia women were recently afforded the right to drive cars, but still have to cover most of their body. In parts of India women are unable to choose their husband. Merely looking at another man can be reason to be stoned to death – by your own family members. There are parts of the world where female genital mutilation is still prevalent.

It’s been like this for a long time. Women have been considered second-class citizens, or mere property, in a male-dominated world for as long as we have records. It’s not just sexual or pay inequality. It’s across the board. A paradigm shift is needed to restore women to their rightful roles as equal members of society.

Despite screwing things up royally, men continue to foster the illusion that women are unable to think and lead as well as men. The inflated male ego is the engine behind war, politics, racism, big business and religion, all intimately related.

Our male dominated society tries to settle disputes with guns rather than words. The result is the world in which we reside, with the greatest disparity between rich and poor in history. We are besieged by poverty, violence against civilians, an increased risk of nuclear war and widespread environmental degradation. Our planet is blowing up around us, evident to all but those who are raking in unconscionable profits while others starve. Why does this male domination continue in the face of so much failure?

Men suppress women because we’re afraid of their power. We know they are superior to us in many ways other than physical strength. Women are more patient and understanding and tend to talk out their disputes. They rarely engage in barroom brawls or warfare. They have more endurance. As the bringers of life into the world, they are more naturally nurturing and life affirming.

But rather than embrace these qualities, men see them as a threat, seeking to dominate women, to “keep them in their place.” We use our brute strength and positions of power to take advantage of women.

The world desperately needs to find a balance between masculine and feminine energies. If the world was run as a business, the board of directors would have fired the men a long time ago for failing so miserably in their jobs.

It’s time not only to give women the same rights and opportunities as men, but also to honor their unique qualities. It’s time to open the doors of leadership. By doing so, men will not be diminished. Allowing women to take positions of leadership enhances society as a whole. Indeed, without including women as full partners, we are doomed to fail as a species.

Here’s hoping the revelations about sexual predators launches a wider examination of why women continue to be treated as inferior members of society. Here’s hoping the pendulum begins swinging the other way, as men begin to understand that, by embracing women as equal partners, we enhance our own ability to function fully in the world.

The following quote from the Recipes from Heaven site sums it up nicely:

Three Wise Women

Would have asked directions

Arrived on time

Helped deliver the baby

Brought practical gifts

Cleaned the stable

Made a casserole

And there would be peace on earth!

(Sol Solomon lives in Sutton.)