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Why do we bother?
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-03-08 09:54:38
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I’m one of those lucky ones who have been blessed to travel a lot - partly because of my work, partly because of my love to travel and mostly because of the people. I love traveling and I love meeting people, different languages, different customs, different food, different religions, clothes and dances. But I’m really sorry to say there is something that hasn’t got much different from place to place, from continent to continent, from hemisphere to hemisphere, hot or cold, old or new and that’s women’s position in the society and it doesn’t matter which society.

I suppose it would have been much better if a woman had written this article and she could show first-hand what the position of the woman is in modern society but the same time with me writing it shows how big this difference is to occasionally shock me. That’s one thing, I presume the next question might be what exactly are we talking about in 2009, equality legally and constitutionally succeeded many years ago and nowadays we even have women presidents and prime ministers. So, why do we bother celebrating?

The reason I started saying that I have travel a lot is because every time I think about men and women all around the world the pictures I get even though life is hard for both genders everywhere is that with women things work like with the fingers, all figures belong to the same hand and all of them are equal is just that …some of them are more equal than the others and let me explain that. Farming in Botswana and the picture you get is the both of them working hard just that she …has to carry the child on her back while working and when it comes the evening and the couple is going back to the village while he smokes his pipe with his friends remembering the good old days she’s cooking, she’s taking care of the kids, washing the clothes and all the usual …women things!

You think I’m using an extreme example? I’m sorry but not because similar pictures I saw in Rio, in Johannesburg, in Munching and Detroit just to count a few places. And yes I see it in Helsinki as well, far too often that I would like to. And yes all these women are a good reason to remember the International Women’s Day, you see there is another thing, the women have become the worst victims of every bad aspect of our times, from the recession to the domestic violence and the world debt. Perhaps there is another aspect in this celebration; it gives us the chance to think globally.

Please don’t be so easy to say again that we try and we have successfully moved a lot of barriers; think of it, what was our reaction when we found ourselves working under a woman? If she’s good the reaction is ‘she’s working like a man’ if she’s not good then again she’s a …woman! These are things we say all the time in our everyday life. Do you know what the worst part is? That many women have embraced those, Margaret Thatcher was proud to be ‘the man’! Actually she did more damage to women’s’ equality than any man prime minister in Britain.

On March 8th in Helsinki - and I presume in many other cities all around the world - organizations and political parties will give to women roses all around the city. When I see that I feel so embarrassed and I cannot stop wondering if any of these people who actually believe that they are doing something nice they are actually doing an act of prejudice? In the worst possible way they show that women are not equal, they are soft and fragile, and they are meant to stay behind a well made window untouchable. Can they understand that with this act only they perpetuate a wrong myth?

Do you think that in the country where women were among the first to get the right to elect and be elected, in Finland women are equal? I suppose the answer is that the President is a woman! Has that solved the problems? Has it made automatically women equal in the work? Has it made women equal in the minds and the hearts of the people and this is not a populism is the reality that is not enough to see a woman working in the police or leading a country, the minds of the people must realize that this woman is equal, that this woman is not good like a man but she is good at her work. If you ever said to a man that he’s working like a man that would have been an insult!

This minute there are humans somewhere on this earth that don’t get any education because they are women, there are countries where the woman is dealt in an inhuman way and that covered legally like in Saudi Arabia and the countries under the Sharia laws, there is country where a woman went to prison because she was …raped. And in our civilized western economy women are underpaid doing exactly the same job men are doing often much better.

Yes the last hundred years things have radically improved regarding equal rights especially in the developed world but automobiles improved much faster and this is unfair but still locally and globally there are too many things to improve, much more than what should be in the beginning of the 21st century and perhaps the international women’s day is good chance for us to think and perhaps it is a good day for us the men to realize and fight our petty prejudice.

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Emanuel Paparella2009-03-08 16:23:09
Indeed, the feminist movement is a great and worthy movement with worthy goals to which men too can and should adhere, but that is true as long as the goals are not corrupted by the means employed to achieve them (the Machiavellian "the end justifies the means")so that the gender changes but not the tactics and the mind-set. Until that is radically changed and we end up with women acting and thinking like men in power, the gender of the people with power will matter very little.

Jack2009-03-08 23:08:52

Great article. I always encouraged my sons and daughter (now grandsons, X 4) to play with whatever their interests were in or their heart's desire.

I had boys making mud pies...feeding stuffed animal friends...and I have (for a little while yet, grieving here...)a little princess jumping in mud puddles and wrestling and playing with trucks...

I would neither encourage nor discourage their interests...for it seems the things that we love the most are the things that we do the best! True?

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