“We cannot change a culture by a new law or decree, we can only change a culture by education.”
It is fair to say that our society has many difficult problems. It is also fair to say that citizens and governments around the world are still doing a lousy job in finding practical and inclusive solutions for these problems. Today, we live in a world of labels that are meant to simplify our way of life and unite us. Instead, these labels are dividing us into inculcated echo chambers. In all reality, this state of affairs is unhealthy for our humanity and in some way sapping our society’s creativity.
Take, for example, our society brush with “sexism.” I understand that I’m walking on a thin line here, but allow me to delve deeper. Unarguably, everything our society yearn for today is being split into labels. Labels of things, of ideologies, and of what is politically correct and the likes. We do this because we are press for solutions to our most persistent problems. Well, permit me to share this truth: These labels, while successful to a large extent, are dividing us more than how they are uniting us. Some everyday examples will suffice.
Many will say the “female” pastor instead of just “pastor.” Why not just call both male and female pastors by their generic name: pastors? Similarly, the “Black or African-American lawyer,” the “female or male doctor,” Why not help ourselves and call them both lawyers and doctors respectively? Oh, wait, if we do, we would be denigrating our values, right? I disagree. Using “neutral gender” where it matters will empower and uplift our society’s values and morals not denigrate it. I can go on and on, but I figured by now, you get the “big picture,” which boils down to this: while our society is doing its best to help solve the problem of sexism, it is, however, at the same time creating new ones.
Another example here will help. So many people today are hiding behind the veil of ideologies of the many “isms” we have in our world. I sense these people can be a solution if they choose, a problem if they choose. Do not get wrong here, the good fight is there and there are many success stories. It would be unjust and frankly absurd to rid them off of their glory—because the truth be told, these die-hard believers of these many ideological ‘isms’ have made significant progress. The question is not if progress have been made, however, the question is are the majority of society benefiting from this progress in tackling sexism? I will let you decide.
My conundrum is not with the kind of advocacy, and rightly so, not with the people advocating these “isms” but more so with the methodology of their advocacy. A methodology that perceive critics and opponents or neutrals as outcast or pariah to their human existence. This is my foremost issue with such ideologies. Why the double standard? Why the hypocrisy? I will let you ponder because it seems that our society is good at creating problems than finding nuanced means to solving these problems.
Allow me to briefly illustrate the above-mentioned point with the present-day feminism debate. If we are advocating for the rights of women and girls, why not help ourselves and advocate for both sexes altogether? Let try something radically inclusionary for once. Let advocate for the rights and inclusion of both sex while providing and advancing opportunities to help them to coexist and thrive in our society. It is a matter of strategy, rather than reality. And I will rather stand for “reality” first and then follow up with strategy for implementations or deliveries for policy change. Fair game, right? I believe so. Moreover, if we are rooting for “equal pay” for both men and women, which is, by the way, an ‘inclusive policy, why can we then make the leap forward for inclusion and equity in opportunities, thus breaking the sexism glass ceiling? Again, I urge you to ponder.
We do not live in a utopian state, so changing our society’s mindset on sexism would be no mean feat. While it is a hulking challenge, it is, however not inconceivable. To achieve this change, we need all hands-on deck in education and opportunity creation for this to happen. With inclusionary policies, I believe our society will be well equipped to overcome our most persistent of challenges if we choose to. Cultural and mindset change is hard work, but we must find in each of us the zeal and purpose to help one another to a dignified and well-meaning life. I firmly believe inclusion is the way, inclusion with everyone at the table, on equal footing and fair share of resources and opportunities. Undoubtedly, this process will promote and help advance a sustainable paradigm shift and thus lead to empowered and inclusive minded citizens. This process is our magic policy button to help us win the fight against sexism.
One thing is clear: sexism will not go away if we refuse to act. The core challenge for our world today as is some fifty-year ago is the same: finding solutions, preferably, inclusive, efficient and practical solutions to our society’s most persistent problems. We know and have known for decades the power of inclusion as opposed to exclusion, the power of making everyone feel part of the change and involve in fixing our problems as opposed to disenfranchising certain groups of people or labeling them for the sake of political and ideological correctness. The answer to end sexism is right before our eyes, and it is safe to say in our hands. We can dare to think different, we can dare to act in an inclusionary manner, and guess what, it would cost us nothing. We have to give neutral or gender-less and inclusionary policy a chance. We have to start that process, now!