The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, February 07, 2005

Men and Women

Ah. Who has it worse?  I think in some isolated circumstances the answers are obvious one way or another, but in general, I think that nature screws 'em both over to make more babies.  How in the world could we come to any kind of a metric that would farily estimate?  Now, let me make it clear: I am not happy that average income for the same work is not equal.  Not happy that we've never had a serious female candidate for president.  Not happy about a lot of things...but I think they are coming.  In fact, I see nothing that could really prevent them from coming other than a collapse of civilization.  If that happens, of course, slavery and complete domination are right around the corner.  But I digress.
The problem with coming up with some way to evaluate comparitive freedoms, satisfactions, or whatever between the genders is a huge one.  For one thing, any method suggested is likely to be loaded in favor of the proposer's pet position.  The fun thing would be to have male and female chauvenists facing off against each other and let 'em have it.  Unfortunately, most of the folks interested in a forum like this share my feeling that more feminine balance in the world is a good thing--as long as we don't weaken in the process.

Some time ago, maybe a couple of years, I was asked when I might think black/white disparities had been erased.  It took months to come up with what I thought was a good standard:
1) equal life expectancies.
2) Equal incarceration rates.
3) Equal amounts of inherited wealth passing from generation to generation.
Now, the interesting thing is that when I apply this standard to men and women, women are already winning on 2/3rds of 'em.  That doesn't necessarily mean anything--one could take the position that one can't port such statistics from race to gender.  It is, however, interesting, and has the virtue of being non-loaded: that is, I created it for one situation, and almost accidentally applied it to another.  I don't propose it as any kind of answer.  Is interesting, though, and might make for some good conversation.  What non-subjective standards for male/female equality would you folks like to see? 

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